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Pacioretty signs six-year extension with Canadiens @NHLdotcom

Max Pacioretty has signed a six-year contract extension with the Montreal Canadiens, the team announced Monday. TSN's Bob McKenzie reported the deal has an average annual value of $4.5 million.

Pacioretty, 23, completed his fourth season in the NHL in 2011-12, leading the Canadiens with a career-high 65 points (33 goals, 32 assists). He has one more season left on his current deal, so the extension begins with the start of the 2013-14 season.

"This is something I wanted to get done," Pacioretty told the Montreal Gazette on Monday night. "I think once the team knew I wanted to get it done, they jumped on the opportunity as well.

"The biggest thing for me is, my career has been maybe plagued by instability and just to be able to call Montreal home for seven years is such an honor. I want to do whatever I can to help this team win and this will help me focus on that for years to come."

Pacioretty was the 2011-12 recipient of the Bill Masterton Trophy, given for perseverance, determination and dedication to the game. He returned last season after missing the team’s last 15 regular-season games and the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2010-11 with a fractured neck and a concussion after a hit by Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins on March 8, 2011.

"Max is one of the best players at his position in the league," Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin told reporters Tuesday, according to TSN. "He's got size, he's a power forward, he's got determination. For us he's a key element in this organization. He's shown Montreal fans that this is the place he wants to play for a long time and be successful, and that's huge."

Pacioretty has 114 points (53 goals, 61 assists) in 202 NHL regular-season games. A native of New Canaan, Conn., he was chosen in the first round (No. 22) of the 2007 NHL Draft.

He is the first American-born player in Canadiens history to score at least 30 goals in a season.

"It’s always been my mentality that I want to focus on winning hockey games right now," Pacioretty said, according to the Gazette. "I think when you’re playing for yourself and playing for your contract, you kind of get away from the team mentality. So just being locked up for six years, I feel at home.

"The organization has taken a chance on me and now my job is to prove to them that I can help this team win games and I hope to do that for seven more years."

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