Marc Bergevin can scratch one item off of his summer to-do list as the club
announced Friday morning that David Desharnais has signed a four year extension
with the team through the 2016-17 season. Although terms weren’t
officially disclosed, the deal is worth $14 million over those years and does
not contain a no-trade or no-move clause.
The contract represents a whopping raise for the undrafted centre. This
season, Desharnais is earning $950,000 ($850,000 cap hit) on the final year of
his ‘bridge’ contract, meaning that this deal is a 368% raise on what he
currently is making. Worth noting is that the deal is pretty much uniform
in terms of breakdown per season; he will earn the same amount in his bought out
RFA year as his UFA ones which doesn’t happen as often nowadays.
Desharnais has taken a rather lengthy road to get to this point. After
finishing up his junior career, he signed a minor league deal with the
Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL, who at that time was the affiliate of Montreal.
Not only did he lead his team in scoring (by a country mile), he also won the
league scoring title with 106 points in 68 games, a 15 point gap over the second
place finisher. He also led the team and league in playoff points, earning
him an entry-level deal with the Habs in November of 2008.
He spent the better part of the next three seasons with the Bulldogs,
amassing 61 goals and 120 assists in 139 games in that span before earning a
permanent recall to the Habs in the 2010-2011 season. Desharnais was
quickly re-united with Max Pacioretty with the Canadiens, creating part of a
line combination that has been kept together in almost every game since that
span. He had 22 points in 43 games in his rookie season before exploding
for 60 points in 81 contests last year.
This season, Desharnais got off to a very slow start but picked up his play
considerably in the second quarter. On the year, he has eight goals and
eight assists, putting him in a three-way tie for fifth in points on the team
(tied with Brian Gionta and rookie Brendan Gallagher).
Desharnais was the only prominent restricted free agent that Bergevin had to
sign in this upcoming offseason. The remaining RFA’s are Ryan White and
Yannick Weber, plus several regulars on the Hamilton Bulldogs including Gabriel
Dumont and recently acquired Dustin Tokarski.