In my dispassionate analytical view, which I expressed earlier on, the Canadiens should have thanked Brian Gionta at the end of the season for his many years of generously-compensated loyal service, and moved on to a new era where the young veterans assume control of the team.
It appears that my view is not shared by Marc Bergevin however. According to RDS, the Canadiens and Brian Gionta have already started to work on a new deal. The captain's agent, Steve Bartlett, told ESPN that both parties have mutually expressed interest in the other, and all that remains is to agree on the salary and the role his client would play.
Obviously I'm a little leery of re-signing Brian Gionta, and I hope it's for a two-year deal at most, and it better contain a pay drop to David Desharnais' pay grade, or even lower. I think the Canadiens would be better served to forego the stability, his leadership, to open up more opportunities and icetime for their young forwards.
To a lesser degree, I'm not 100% on re-signing Andrei Markov, even though he's been my favourite player the last ten years or so. We've seen his performance trend down as the season advances, his points dry up. Now, he can be a very useful 2nd pairing d-man, but we can wonder if he'll accept getting paid as one. And if I'm him, I'm skeptical of that too, I can see a scenario where I swallow the pay drop, but the head coach keeps sending me out there as the de facto #1 for the next two seasons anyway, so why take less money?
Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province was just on TEAM 1040 and was saying Canucks fans should be overjoyed with Ryan Kesler making his trade demand. He says it'll force management's hand, prevent them from handling the team as if it's a contender, that with one or two tweaks can get back to the Stanley Cup final. Now, being forced to trade Ryan, it kickstarts the re-build, dispels any illusion that you should keep the core and try to win now. Instead, they now will deal Ryan Kesler, and probably one of their defencemen while they're at it, there's no sense in hanging on to their veteran d-corps now.
I can see Marc Bergevin's reasoning, that Brian Gionta is the captain, and has tremendous value to his team beyond the goals he scores, he makes everyone around him better by making the team function smoothly. The GM is betting that keeping the team stable will provide an environment in which the young players can keep developing within a system, a hierarchy that will serve them well later on. So retaining the captain is worth it, compared to the vacuum his absence would create. That's his call. We have to respect it, he's the guy with the most info, with all the advice from his coaches and brain trust. We can just hope that it be done in a cost-effective, relatively short-term manner.