Montreal Canadiens

Report: Sergei Kostitsyn nearing an NHL deal

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According to Igor Eronko, Sergei Kostitsyn is close to signing an NHL contract.

It is currently unknown which team Kostitsyn is negotiating with.

The 28-year-old spent the 2014-15 season with Ak Bars Kazan in the KHL, scoring seven goals and 27 points in 49 games.

Originally a seventh-round selection (200th overall) of the Montreal Canadiens, Kostitsyn last played in the NHL during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, scoring three goals and 12 assists with the Nashville Predators.

Kostitsyn was placed on unconditional waivers by the Preds in July 2013 and signed a reported three-year deal with Avangard Omsk of the KHL.

The 6-foot, 207-pound forward has appeared in 353 NHL games with the Canadiens and Predators scoring 67 goals and 176 points.

Habs hand Torrey Mitchell a three-year deal reportedly worth $3.6M

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Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin was once considered a prankster, yet he doesn’t seem like a procrastinator. He continued his run of early offseason work on Monday, signing depth forward Torrey Mitchell to a three-year deal.

Various reporters including ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun tab the deal at $3.6 million total, or $1.2 million per season.

Whatever the final cap ceiling will be, it doesn’t look like Montreal will have much space to make splashes in free agency this summer (unless they move away some salary). Bergevin gave up much of Montreal’s breathing room in re-signing Mitchell, Jeff Petry and Nathan Beaulieu.

Some wonder if three years is too much term for Mitchell, 30, although the money isn’t disastrous. He’s seeing a noteworthy drop in cap hit from $1.9 million, actually.

Bergevin can’t just go fishing all summer just yet, however, as the Habs still need to sign rising RFA Alex Galchenyuk (and also do that whole “drafting” thing). Many of the team’s pending moves have been settled pretty early on, though.

Habs’ Beaulieu wants to prove he’s ‘a top four guy’

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With a new two-year, $2 million contract in his back pocket, Nathan Beaulieu is out to prove he can be a top-four defenseman, and power play specialist with the Montreal Canadiens.

“For next season I want to play a bigger role on the team,” Beaulieu said during his conference call on Saturday. “I feel I can play big minutes with this team. It doesn’t get handed to you, so I know I need to earn big minutes, and with that you need to be in tiptop shape.

“I feel like going forward the next couple seasons I want to prove I can play big minutes (and) that I’m definitely a top four guy that can help the team win.”

The 22-year-old appeared in 65 games with the Canadiens in 2014-15 scoring one goal and eight assists while averaging 15:42 in time on ice.

He also appeared in eight American Hockey League games with the Hamilton Bulldogs scoring two goals and four points.

“It took a lot of patience. It was a journey. I had to play a little time in the American (Hockey) League, and I had to grow little aspects of my game,” Beaulieu said of becoming an NHL regular. “It was a process and I feel like now I’ve grown into an NHL player.

“I feel like me along with the organization, we’ve figured out a plan for myself, and we know what I can do.”

Part of what the 6-foot-2, 194-pound blue liner wants to do moving forward is earn a regular role on the club’s power play.

“I’ve got a great guy to learn from in Andrei Markov,” he said. “I know I’m a power play guy, just got to wait for the opportunities and I know that eventually I’m going to be a power play guy.

“You got to earn it. It just doesn’t get given to you. I’m ready to take on responsibilities and earn a spot.”

Related: Habs cutting ties with Gonchar, Malhotra, Weaver

Habs sign Beaulieu to a two-year, $2 million extension

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The Montreal Canadiens have come to terms on a two-year contract extension with defenseman Nathan Beaulieu the club announced.

According to multiple reports, the deal is for $2 million ($1 million AAV) and is a one-way contract.

Beaulieu was set to become a restricted free agent with his three-year, $3.8 million entry-level contract expiring.

The 22-year-old appeared in 65 games with the Canadiens in 2014-15 scoring one goal and eight assists while averaging 15:42 in time on ice.

He also appeared in eight American Hockey League games with the Hamilton Bulldogs scoring two goals and four points.

With Beaulieu and Jeff Petry signed, the Habs have seven defensemen under contract for next season.

GM Marc Bergevin announced last month that the club would not re-sign pending unrestricted free agents Mike Weaver and Sergei Gonchar.

Related: Hearing from Price and Subban ‘weighed in a lot’ on Petry’s decision

’16 Draft prospect Bellows, son of Brian, joins USNTDP

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Kieffer Bellows has agreed to play for the United States National Team Development Program under-18 team in 2015-16, per NHL.com.

Bellows, 16, is regarded as one of the top prospects for the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. He had 52 points and 78 penalty minutes with Sioux Falls Stampede en route to being named the USHL Rookie of the Year. Some of the other recent ROY winners include Johnny Gaudreau (2011), Max Pacioretty (2007), Kyle Okposo (2006), and Joe Pavelski (2003).

He’s also the son of Brian Bellows, who had a 1,188-game career with the Minnesota North Stars, Montreal Canadiens, Tampa Bay Lightning, Anaheim Ducks, and Washington Capitals.

“We are excited to have Kieffer join us next year,” USNTDP U-18 coach Danton Cole said. “He had a tremendous season in Sioux Falls, winning a USHL championship while also being recognized for several awards. Coach [Cary] Eades and his staff did an excellent job with Kieffer and it will serve him well as he embarks on our USHL, NCAA and international schedule.”