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Devils’ Gionta signs with AHL Albany

Dec 3, 2012, 2:18 PM EDT

giontajr Getty Images

The Albany Devils got a familiar face back in the fold on Monday as Stephen Gionta agreed to an AHL contract.

Gionta, 29, is Albany’s all-time leader in almost every significant statistical category: points (135), goals (56), assists (79), shots (815) and games played (360).

But last year, he made an improbable mark on the parent club, emerging as a key contributor for the New Jersey Devils.

Gionta had a brief regular season cameo — scoring the lone goal in a 1-0 win over Ottawa — then jumped to prominence in the postseason, scoring seven points in 24 games as the Devils advanced to the Stanley Cup finals.

Along with Ryan Carter and Steve Bernier, Gionta played on a fourth line that was crucial to New Jersey’s success. The trio combined for 21 points and finished the postseason with a plus-11 rating, and all three were rewarded with contract extensions in late June — Carter and Bernier signed matching two-year, $1.55 million deals while Gionta received a two-year, $1.125 million deal.

Even though Gionta signed with New Jersey on a one-way deal, he was eligible to sign and play in the AHL during the lockout because he was on Albany’s 2012 “clear day” list.

Gionta will presumably fill Adam Henrique‘s role in Albany. The reigning Calder Trophy nominee is out 4-6 weeks with a thumb injury, though it’s possible he could miss additional time given the injury’s severity.

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