Les Habitants continued to invade Switzerland on Friday as National League A team Fribourg-Gotteron announced the signing of Montreal forward David Desharnais to a lockout deal.
He becomes the fourth Canadien to join a Swiss league team during the work stoppage. Raphael Diaz signed with Zug, Yannick Weber joined Geneve-Servette and Max Pacioretty briefly played for Ambri-Piotta before leaving the club in mid-October.
Desharnais, 26, had a breakout campaign with Montreal last season, posting career highs in games played (81), goals (16), assists (44) and points (60). He finished third on the team in scoring and averaged 18:24 of ice time.
It’s been a long trip to NHL success for the undrafted free agent. Just four years ago, Desharnais was starring in the East Coast Hockey League (he won the league’s MVP in 2007-08) and only established himself as an NHL regular in the second half of 2010-11.
Now, he’s Fribourg’s big lockout signing, the club’s response to a number of Swiss league teams that have loaded up with NHL stars. Rapperswil signed Michael Del Zotto and Jason Spezza, Davos signed Joe Thornton and Rick Nash and Biel signed Patrick Kane and Tyler Seguin.