David Desharnais, 26, has gone from being undrafted to a solid top-six forward. Now he’s getting rewarded for his hard work.
The Montreal Canadiens announced that they have signed Desharnais to a four-year extension. The deal will pay Desharnais an average of $3.5 million per season, according to RDS’ Renaud Lavoie.
That’s a sizable jump over the $950,000 annually his current deal is worth in 2012-13, but it’s hard to argue against the pay raise.
After establishing himself in 2010-11, Desharnais broke out last season with 16 goals and 60 points in 81 games. He hasn’t been quite as productive in 2013, but has still scored eight goals and 16 points in 27 contests.
Desharnais would have been a restricted free agent this summer and his deal gives the Montreal Canadiens six forwards signed through at least the 2015-16 campaign. The others are Tomas Plekanec, Rene Bourque, Brandon Prust, Travis Moen, and Max Pacioretty.
Canadiens won’t comment on possible Geoffrion retirement
But it was a nice move, nonetheless, as Montreal Canadiens center Lars Eller scored the winning goal in the shootout Wednesday night against the Ottawa Senators. Call it a more conventional approach to the skills competition. The Habs pulled off a 4-3 victory over their Northeast Division rivals.
Meanwhile, the Canadiens have won four games in a row and are back atop the Eastern Conference standings.
Report: Montreal forward Geoffrion retires (Updated)
“I love the game of hockey more than anything and this decision tears me up inside,” Geoffrion said, “but we are talking about my brain. Not a knee or a shoulder. I want to have a family, have kids, play with them and [have] a strong quality of life for another 60 or 70 years.
“These last three months of recovery have been hell. For two months I would sit in the shower for an hour with no lights on. My head was throbbing. The plate in my head is still sensitive. I’ve tried to put a hockey helmet on four or five times and I can’t even put that on yet.”
On Nov. 9, Geoffrion required immediate surgery for a depressed skull fracture that he sustained on a hit (video) from Jean-Philippe Cote of the Syracuse Crunch.
Geoffrion was drafted 56th overall by Nashville in 2006. A star with the University of Wisconsin, he was the Hobey Baker winner in 2010.
He was also a fourth-generation Hab, as the son of former Canadien Danny Geoffrion, the grandson of Hall of Famer Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion and the great-grandson of another Hall of Famer, Howie Morenz.
Update from John Glennon of The Tennessean (1:41 p.m ET):
Just spoke to Danny Geoffrion, Blake’s dad. He says Blake hasn’t retired yet, but simply given notice to Canadiens that he’s considering it.
In a release, the Canadiens confirmed that Geoffrion “notified general manager Marc Bergevin Wednesday that in light of his health condition, which has shown no significant improvement since he underwent surgery last November 10, he felt it was his responsibility to inform the Canadiens’ management that he was considering retiring from professional hockey.”
Montreal’s Prust out two weeks with separated shoulder
Brandon Prust has been a surprisingly key player for Montreal this season, but now the Habs will have to find out what they can do without him for a short time.
The team announced Prust has a first-degree shoulder separation and will miss 10-14 days to recover from it. He suffered the injury last night in Montreal’s comeback victory over Tampa Bay. Rugged forward Ryan White will reenter the lineup to take his place.
Prust has been a boon for Montreal contributing toughness (81 penalty minutes) and penalty killing while also adding some offense with four goals and five assists. His work on a line with Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher has helped both of those rookies get off to flying starts.