The Montreal Canadiens have confirmed Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais have signed two-year deals with the club.
Both players were facing free agency, but will become integral to Montreal’s offense next season. Pacioretty is currently recovering from a spine injury, suffered by Zdeno Chara during Montreal’s 4-1 win over Boston in March.
Pacioretty is a scoring threat
Talking about Pacioretty, Montreal General Manager Pierre Gauthier, said: “We are very pleased to have reached an agreement with Max Pacioretty who is one of the most promising young players in our organization.
“A power forward with skills, Max showed that he can help our team and make a name for himself in the NHL. We are confident that he will have recovered fully from the injury that kept him out of the line-up for the last month of the regular season and the playoffs.”
Pacioretty recorded 14 goals and 10 assists last season, and will suit up for the third season for the Habs. The 22-year-old put in some inspired performances for the Canadiens last season, including grabbing the overtime winner against Boston in January.
Desharnais was a valuable asset last season
David Desharnais successfully made the move from the American Hockey League (AHL) to the NHL last season. The 24-year-old racked up 8 goals and 14 assists in 44 games for Montreal. “We are pleased to have reached a two-year agreement with David. Since joining our club midway through last season, David has shown that he has the potential to play at the NHL level and contribute offensively to the success of our team,” added Gauthier.
Desharnais, a Quebec native was never drafted – but was signed as a free agent by the Canadiens in 2008. Both Desharnais and Pacioretty bring a refreshing enthusiasm to the Canadiens. Their attitude is more than welcome, and Head Coach Jacques Martin will be relieved to have the two players at his disposal next season.
The big picture
Only six teams scored fewer goals than Montreal last season. The Habs registered a dismal 216 goals, while Vancouver struck 262 times and the Stanley Cup champions scored 246 times during the regular season.
Montreal’s priority offensively needs to be goals. Following Scott Gomez’ dreadful season, the likes of Pacioretty, Desharnais and Andrei Kostitsyn will be expected to drive Montreal into the playoffs for the fifth successive season.
Defensively, the Canadiens coped despite losing Andrei Markov for the majority of the season and Josh Gorges during the playoff run-in. Markov is expected to agree a new contract, allegedly a short-term deal. Although Montreal coped last season without their most influential players, great performances from Carey Price and James Wisniewski were not enough to put together a promising playoff run.
Montreal have a lot of potential, but in recent years have failed to deliver. With the salary cap going up to $64 million next season, assuming Markov and Gorges both sign – there may be room for Gauthier to bring in a top six forward. There’s even wild speculation that Jaromir Jagr may sign for the Canadiens.
The summer in Montreal will be a tense one, but by October there could be a lot of hope in Quebec.