September 24, 2018 / 6:21 PM / in 7 months

Former Sabres, Canadiens captain Gionta retires

FILE PHOTO: Feb 21, 2016; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres right wing Brian Gionta (12) celebrates after scoring on the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at First Niagara Center. Penguins beat the Sabres 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports / Reuters Picture Supplied by Action Images/File Photo

Veteran winger Brian Gionta hung up his skates Monday after 16 seasons and more than 1,000 games in the NHL.

Gionta, 39, announced his retirement at Buffalo’s KeyBank Center. The Rochester, N.Y., native said he is moving into an unspecified role on the development staff of the Sabres and the AHL’s Rochester Americans.

Gionta won the 2003 Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils and later served as a captain of both the Montreal Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres. He finished his playing career with the Boston Bruins.

“I went into it hoping I could play one NHL game,” he said Monday. “I would have never thought it lasted as long as it did.”

Just 5-foot-7, Gionta played 1,026 NHL games and registered 291 goals and 304 assists. A seven-time 20-goal scorer, he recorded career highs in goals (48) and points (89) with New Jersey in 2005-06.

Gionta played seven seasons with the Devils (2001-09), five with the Canadiens (2009-14) and three with the Sabres (2014-17), and he appeared in 20 games with the Bruins.

His teams reached the playoffs 12 times, and he helped the Devils defeat the Ducks in seven games in the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals. He advanced to the conference finals with Montreal in 2010 and 2014.

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