Gionta last skated in the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres in 2017. Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Team USA won’t kick off their Olympic tournament until Wednesday, but that hasn’t stopped NHL teams from already reaching out to the agents of veteran Americans Brian Gionta and James Wisniewski. Stephen Whyno of the Associated Press writes that the unemployed former NHLers may not stay that way for long after the Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea wrap up. Teams have already begun to inquire into the availability of both long-time pros for contracts through the end of the regular season. At this time of year, the concept of bringing in game-ready, experienced assets without paying inflated prices is sure to entice many squads.

Gionta, 39, and Wisniewski, 33, will only have about a day and a half following the end of the Olympics to sign in the NHL and remain eligible for the postseason, Whyno writes. This means that the agents for both players will be busy working the phones while the players are hard at work in pursuit of a gold medal. The case for each is simple. Gionta is less than a year removed from NHL action and played in all 82 games with the Buffalo Sabres last season, recording 35 points, which was good enough for sixth among Buffalo forwards. He has both the experience and ability to be a depth asset up front for a contender. Wisniewski, on the other hand, last played a full NHL season in 2014-15. A season-ending injury in the first and only game of his 2015-16 season and Carolina Hurricanes tenure derailed Wisniewski’s NHL career, but after bouncing around Russia, Switzerland, Germany, and the AHL over the past two seasons, looking especially impressive with the Deutsche Eishockey Liga’s Kassel Huskies this fall, Wisniewski has proven to still be a capable player. A strong outing at the Olympics for the offensive-minded, right-shot defenseman would make him all the more attractive addition.

While the agents do their jobs of selling their players, Gionta and Wisniewski will do theirs, leading the American team through their Olympic schedule. Both need a strong individual performance to boost their value to interested NHL teams, but will surely be more invested in the performance of the team. Despite several promising young players like Ryan Donato, Jordan Greenway, and Troy Terry and two of the best players in the Swiss NLA, Garrett Roe and Mark Arcobello, Team USA will undoubtedly look to their only two established stars to be the leaders on the ice and in the locker room.

QUIZ: Name every 50-goal scorer in the NHL since 1989-90

Since 1989-90, there have been 81 players that have scored 50 or more goals in an NHL season. How many can you name in 7 minutes?

CLUE: Goals / team / season

Score:
0/81
Time:
7:00
86 / STL / 90-91
Brett Hull
76 / BUF / 92-93
Alexander Mogilny
76 / WIN / 92-93
Teemu Selanne
72 / STL / 89-90
Brett Hull
70 / STL / 91-92
Brett Hull
69 / PIT / 92-93
Mario Lemieux
69 / PIT / 95-96
Mario Lemieux
65 / WSH / 07-08
Alex Ovechkin
63 / LAK / 92-93
Luc Robitaille
62 / PIT / 95-96
Jaromir Jagr
62 / DET / 89-90
Steve Yzerman
60 / VAN / 92-93
Pavel Bure
60 / VAN / 93-94
Pavel Bure
60 / TBL / 11-12
Steven Stamkos
59 / FLA / 00-01
Pavel Bure
58 / FLA / 99-00
Pavel Bure
58 / NYI / 92-93
Pierre Turgeon
58 / DET / 92-93
Steve Yzerman
57 / STL / 93-94
Brett Hull
56 / SJS / 05-06
Jonathan Cheechoo
56 / DET / 93-94
Sergei Fedorov
56 / WSH / 08-09
Alex Ovechkin
55 / MNS / 89-90
Brian Bellows
55 / VAN / 95-96
Alexander Mogilny
55 / BOS / 89-90
Cam Neely
55 / PIT / 92-93
Kevin Stevens
54 / 2TM / 92-93
Dave Andreychuk
54 / STL / 92-93
Brett Hull
54 / NYR / 05-06
Jaromir Jagr
54 / NYI / 89-90
Pat LaFontaine
54 / COL / 00-01
Joe Sakic
54 / PIT / 91-92
Kevin Stevens
53 / TOR / 93-94
Dave Andreychuk
53 / BUF / 92-93
Pat LaFontaine
53 / WSH / 14-15
Alex Ovechkin
53 / PHI / 92-93
Mark Recchi
53 / CGY / 91-92
Gary Roberts
53 / CHI / 91-92
Jeremy Roenick
52 / WSH / 95-96
Peter Bondra
52 / WSH / 97-98
Peter Bondra
52 / NYR / 93-94
Adam Graves
52 / CGY / 01-02
Jarome Iginla
52 / PIT / 00-01
Jaromir Jagr
52 / ATL / 05-06
Ilya Kovalchuk
52 / ATL / 07-08
Ilya Kovalchuk
52 / TBL / 06-07
Vincent Lecavalier
52 / WSH / 05-06
Alex Ovechkin
52 / LAK / 89-90
Luc Robitaille
52 / MDA / 97-98
Teemu Selanne
52 / STL / 93-94
Brendan Shanahan
52 / DET / 93-94
Ray Sheppard
52 / PHX / 96-97
Keith Tkachuk
51 / VAN / 97-98
Pavel Bure
51 / PIT / 09-10
Sidney Crosby
51 / CGY / 90-91
Theoren Fleury
51 / PHI / 95-96
John LeClair
51 / PHI / 97-98
John LeClair
51 / TOR / 89-90
Gary Leeman
51 / BOS / 90-91
Cam Neely
51 / WSH / 13-14
Alex Ovechkin
51 / MTL / 89-90
Stephane Richer
51 / COL / 95-96
Joe Sakic
51 / MDA / 96-97
Teemu Selanne
51 / STL / 92-93
Brendan Shanahan
51 / TBL / 09-10
Steven Stamkos
51 / DET / 90-91
Steve Yzerman
50 / OTT / 06-07
Dany Heatley
50 / OTT / 05-06
Dany Heatley
50 / COL / 02-03
Milan Hejduk
50 / CGY / 07-08
Jarome Iginla
50 / MDA / 95-96
Paul Kariya
50 / PHI / 96-97
John LeClair
50 / PIT / 96-97
Mario Lemieux
50 / PIT / 11-12
Evgeni Malkin
50 / DAL / 93-94
Mike Modano
50 / BOS / 93-94
Cam Neely
50 / WSH / 09-10
Alex Ovechkin
50 / WSH / 15-16
Alex Ovechkin
50 / ANA / 10-11
Corey Perry
50 / CHI / 92-93
Jeremy Roenick
50 / WIN / 95-96
Keith Tkachuk
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