HabsWorld.net -- 

The announcement that David Desharnais had signed a four year, $14 million
extension with the Habs last week came as a shocker to pretty much everyone. 
Despite the surprise, it appears that most of the fan base believes that it was
a good contract for the team to give him.  Do our writers feel the same

Jason Brisebois: It took me awhile before I could form an
opinion on the Desharnais contract and decide whether or not it was a positive
development for the franchise.

On the one hand, David’s track record in the league is fairly short. Last
season, which was his first full season in the NHL, he posted a solid sixty
points in 81 games. Despite the fact that he entered the league at an older age
than most rookies (he was twenty-four when he played 43 games in 2010-2011),
there is certainly the expectation that he will continue to improve.

Admittedly, I found this deal – $3.5 million over four seasons – to be a fairly
lofty sum of money to doll out based on potential and one full season,
especially to a late-bloomer. This is also considering that this season has
been, in my eyes, somewhat disappointing for Desharnais. While we have seen
flashes of brilliance, his point production is down and his game remains, for
the most part, fairly one-dimensional.

At the end of the day, however, the Habs are by no means stacked with high-end
offensive talent, and have done right to retain David. Moving forward, he should
figure prominently into a great deal of  scoring, slotting comfortably into a
second line slot for years to come. While $3.5 million is a sizeable investment
based on a very limited sample size, it is also a fair and manageable sum that
many can argue he has earned.

Besides, this is Montreal after all, and Marc Bergevin is surely aware of the
expectation that the Canadiens will retain and develop French talent. The
fortunate thing is that Marc is not breaking the bank or signing lacklustre
talent to do so.

Matt Dilworth: Aside from wishing that Desharnais was five inches taller, there isn’t much to
dislike about this deal.  Marc Bergevin has done well to secure a valuable
asset for four more years, at a below-market rate, should Desharnais’ production
remain the same over that time.  No two players are the same, but a quick look
around the division denotes David Krejci and Mikhail Grabovski as comparable
players, production wise.  Krejci makes $5.25M while Grabovski makes
$5.5M, making Desharnais’ $3.5M cap hit look very good in comparison.  As with
any contract, there is always a possibility that the players’ performance may
decline, but it is nice to see a hard-working player like Desharnais rewarded,
while not handicapping the team’s financial situation.  The term is also
manageable, as David will only be 31 when his contract expires; the fact that
there is no no-trade/no-movement clause is just icing on the cake.

Brian La Rose: For a 26 year old forward who has yet to score
100 points in the NHL, this contract seems risky at first glance.  Yes, he
had a strong 60 point effort last season but the fact that this deal was signed
is a telling sign that neither side figures it’s repeatable; if they thought it
was, it would be more costly.  That said, it’s a decent deal.  Even if
he regresses to a 40-45 point player, that would line up somewhat close with
what a player with that type of production would fetch on the free agent market.

The big question is will there be a place for him long term?  Plekanec
is signed long-term, Galchenyuk is the future at centre, and Eller continues to
impress.  I think there’s room for all of them over the short term but
eventually, either one of these players is going to have to convert full time to
the wing or get traded.  As this contract is reasonable in terms of market
value, it shouldn’t be too tough to move should it come to that while the
Canadiens get part of the current core signed long term at the very least. 
It’s not a contract to get all excited about but it’s not a bad one either. 

Alex Létourneau: I’m not really crazy about the signing in all honesty. Not that I don’t think he’s
worth the term or the money, I just didn’t think he would be one of the best
options at center moving forward for the team. With Tomas Plekanec, Lars Eller
and a natural centerman in Alex Galchenyuk, I just didn’t see David Desharnais
in the fold long-term.

But, there are worse things in this world and having a hard working guy like
that in the lineup long-term will have its benefits in the depth department.
Desharnais deserved a hefty raise, whether it came from Montreal or another
NHL club. Marc Bergevin has yet to do anything that has horrified the fan base
so, until he does, faith should be given. Max Pacioretty should be thrilled to
have his favourite distributor around for four more years.

The signing of David Desharnais is a solid one for the
organization. The contract negotiations may have been the reason for his slow
start of the season, as the thought of the uncertainty beyond this season may
have been troubling Desharnais initially. He seems to be the type of player who
has loyalty to the team, not only because he’s born in Quebec but because he was
an undrafted player who got his professional break from Montreal.  He’s formed a
special chemistry on the ice with Max Pacioretty, but he’s versatile enough to
play well with other wingers. The term and the annual cost of the deal are both
reasonable, given that’s he will be 27 when the contract starts, and that he’s
pretty durable for his size.  The team now has depth at center with Desharnais,
Tomas Plekanec and Lars Eller filling the top three lines, with Ryan White on
the fourth line and Alex Galchenyuk shifted to the wing for now.