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Gallagher signs 6-year extension with Canadiens

by Sean Farrell

MONTREAL -- Montreal Canadiens right wing Brendan Gallagher signed a six-year, $22.5 million contract extension Saturday, and general manager Marc Bergevin said he had no qualms about securing him long-term.

Gallagher, 22, has 81 points (39 goals, 42 assists) in 149 NHL regular-season games since his debut in 2012-13 (Jan. 22).

He has 11 power-play goals and four winning goals, and is plus-16. Gallagher has 13 points (six goals) in 22 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

In 24 games this season prior to Saturday, Gallagher has 12 points (five goals), 67 shots on goal and 33 penalty minutes. The 5-foot-9, 182-pound forward is plus-2 averaging 15:59 of ice time.

"He doesn't take a shift off, he never has," Bergevin said. "I know nights that are a little tougher for him, but overall the effort's always there, the character is off the charts, and in the playoffs he's a guy that's always in the paint. He works hard, he gets loose pucks, he's not afraid of nothing, he just competes, night in, night out."

A native of Edmonton, Gallagher was drafted in the fifth round (NO. 147) by the Canadiens at the 2010 NHL Draft. He was named to the NHL All-Rookie Team in 2012-13.

Bergevin said contract talks began in earnest when he met with Gallagher's agent, Gerry Johansson, when the Canadiens played at the Edmonton Oilers on Oct. 27.

"There's always a risk when you go long-term with any player, but we felt that this time the risk was worth it," Bergevin said. "And Brendan showed from Day One that he loves Montreal, he wants to be a Montreal Canadien, and he's proud, and he loves the city and the fans, so that made it even easier."

Bergevin freed NHL salary-cap space when he traded forwards Rene Bourque and Travis Moen this season.

"We feel comfortable with where we're at," Bergevin said. "One of the reasons that helped us do this deal is we moved guys with term in Rene and Travis that were here for the next years. Now they're gone, so that really helped us to be able to do this deal."

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