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Active Sabres add Gionta, bring back Moulson at start of free agency


It was a busy afternoon for the Buffalo Sabres on the first day of National Hockey League free agency Tuesday. The Sabres obtained two players from the Montreal Canadiens: defenseman Josh Gorges in a trade for a second-round draft pick and free agent forward Brian Gionta, who signed a three-year deal for a reported $12.75 million. The former Habs captain is a native of nearby Rochester.

The 35-year-old Gionta had 18 goals and 40 points last season in Montreal. He has 249 goals and 485 points over seven seasons with the New Jersey Devils and five with the Canadiens.

Buffalo also returned two free agent forwards traded last season to the Minnesota Wild: Matt Moulson, who signed a five-year deal for $25 million and Cody McCormick, who agreed to a multi-year contract.

Moulson, 30, had 23 goals and 51 points last season, playing for the New York Islanders, Buffalo and Minnesota.

Late in the afternoon, Sabres General Manager Tim Murray added another piece to the rebuilding squad, signing defenseman Andrej Meszaros, 28, for a reported one-year deal for $4.125 million. Meszaros played in Boston and Philadelphia last season, scoring seven goals and 15 assists in 52 games.

Marcus Foligno also has signed a two-year deal to stay with the team for a reported $3.75 million. The Buffalo native had 19 points in 74 games last season.

All of the signings Tuesday allowed the Sabres to exceed the NHL's salary cap floor.

Former Sabres who changed teams today include goaltender Ryan Miller, who signed a three-year, $18 million deal with the Vancouver Canucks, bought-out defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, who signed a one-year contract worth $4 million with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and winger Thomas Vanek, who inked a three-year, $19.5 million deal with the Minnesota Wild.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.