New Year's Surprise: Habs Sign Gorges to 6 Year Extension

There were a lot of questions and concerns when the Montreal Canadiens signed restricted free agent (RFA) Josh Gorges to a one year deal over the summer.

With the young rearguard then given potential UFA status this July, many fans were fuming on such a short deal for a valuable asset in the organization. The case for Habs GM Pierre Gauthier was that Gorges' rebuilt knee was yet to be proven. His case was tarnished with Andrei Markov getting a three-year deal, and his "set back" to his knee has yet to generate NHL game time.

In Gorges' case this was an honor agreement between Gorges, his agent Kevin Epp and the Canadiens, which can always backfire for either party. Once the 27-year-old blueliner put in some quality effort and everything was OK medically, further negotiations would transpire. A contract extension is a rarity with the Canadiens as an unwritten company policy, with most negotiations happening after the season is over.

It would seem that in this case it worked. Gorges came up with his side of the bargain ten fold, leading the club in plus/minus and leading the NHL in blocked shots. The Canadiens held up their end, announcing a six-year contract extension this afternoon.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed by the club, but it is being reported at an average of $3.9 million per season. Renaud Lavoie of RDS tweeted that there is a no-trade clause in the first year of the deal, and a limited NTC in the following years. The deal was apparently hammered out between Christmas and New Years, but wasn't formally announced until today.

The deal solidifies a strong Canadiens defensive corps for the future, especially provided Markov makes a healthy return. Tomas Kaberle is under contract for two more seasons, and could be kept on as a precautionary measure. RFA's P.K. Subban and Alexei Emelin will be the Habs GM's next "to-do" items on the blue line.

The signing of Gorges will also be a huge indicator in a new deal for Carey Price. With his best friend on the team, and fellow BC native, locked up long term, one has to think a deal for the Habs netminder isn't too far behind.

Anyone here remember Craig Rivet?

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