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Lehkonen agrees to two-year contract with Canadiens

Forward receives $2.4 million per season, avoids arbitration hearing

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Artturi Lehkonen agreed to terms on a two-year, $4.8 million contract with the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday. It has an average annual value of $2.4 million.

The 24-year-old forward, who was a restricted free agent, avoided a salary arbitration hearing scheduled for Aug. 3. He had an NHL career-high 31 points (11 goals, 20 assists) in 82 games with the Canadiens last season.

"The only thing I had in mind going into this thing was to stay in Montreal," Lehkonen said Friday. "I know I can still play a lot better than I showed last year. And of course I wasn't happy with my point production, basically, or how my goal stats were at the end of the year, so I know I still have a lot more to prove."

 

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The Canadiens finished 44-30-8 last season, two points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. It marked the second straight season Montreal did not qualify for the postseason.

"Well, of course we want to make the playoffs next year," Lehkonen said, "and we all saw what happened in the playoffs this year, that if you make the playoffs there's a lot of things that can happen and it doesn't matter what seed [you have] ... and if you make it there you've got a chance to go all the way so it's basically what's on everyone's mind."

Selected by Montreal in the second round (No. 55) of the 2013 NHL Draft, Lehkonen has 80 points (41 goals, 39 assists) in 221 games for the Canadiens and four points (two goals, two assists) in six Stanley Cup Playoff games.

NHL.com correspondent Sean Farrell contributed to this report

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