Ex-Canadiens captain Gionta retires after 16 NHL seasons

Brian Gionta has retired after 16 NHL seasons, two Olympic appearances and a Stanley Cup title with the New Jersey Devils in 2003.

The 39-year-old forward once captained the Buffalo Sabres and Montreal Canadiens. He said at a news conference Monday he wants to stay involved in hockey and spend more time with his family.

Gionta has agreed to a part-time job as a player development assistant with the Sabres. He is from nearby Rochester, New York, and lives in Buffalo.

The five-foot-seven right-winger overcame questions about his size to play various roles while establishing his reputation as a leader.

He spent most of last season out of the NHL while preparing to play at the Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. He then signed with Boston, where he had two goals and seven assists in 21 games, including one in the playoffs.

Gionta had 291 goals and 595 points in 1,026 regular-season games.

He was selected by the Devils in the third-round of the 1998 NHL draft out of Boston College and broke into the NHL three years later. He topped 20 goals seven times, including a career-best 48 with New Jersey in 2005-06.

Gionta spent his first seven seasons with the Devils before signing with Montreal as a free agent in July 2009. He left Montreal in the summer of 2014 to sign with Buffalo, where he spent three seasons as captain.