After signing a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Canadiens last summer, Gorges was determined to show to his club his real value this season as he was slated to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.
Gorges, who has been the Habs’ steadiest defenseman this season, will earn an average salary cap hit of $3.9 millions per season for the duration of his contract extension. It is widely reported that the organization wanted to see how Gorges’ knee would react following a surgery to his knee, injury that costed him a big chunk of the 2010-11 season.
Despite his lack of offensive production this season, Gorges has put up good numbers this season, one goal and nine assists for ten points, to go along with a +6 plus+/- differential and a league-leading 101 blocked shots.
Gorges, 27, has played in all of Montreal’s 39 games this year, registering 60 hits and 24 penalty minutes averaging 22:35 seconds of ice time per match.
A native of Kelowna, British-Colombia, Gorges was signed by the San Jose Sharks as a free agent in 2002, before being traded to the Canadiens in February 2007, along with the Sharks’ 1st round pick in 2007 (Max Pacioretty) in exchange for veteran defenseman Craig Rivet (now playing in the ECHL) and a fifth-round draft pick in 2008.
The 6’1’’, 201 lbs left-shooting defenseman has become a leader in the dressing room and on the ice over the years and is now a key cog of the Canadiens’ penalty kill that has been one of the lone bright spots for Les Habitants in 2011-12, ranking second in the NHL.
Gorges’ signing crosses one of the pending UFA’s names of the board which also included Andrei Kostitsyn, Travis Moen, Mathieu Darche, Hal Gill and Chris Campoli.
And while Gorges has been quite useful this season for the team, some experts are saying his annual salary of $3.9MM is a bit high for a stay-at-home defenseman.
Comparables in NHL: Robyn Regehr in Buffalo, $4 millions; Andrej Mezsaros in Philadelphia, $4 millions; Ed Jovanovski in Florida, $4.1 millions; Keith Ballard in Vancouver, $4.2 millions; Brooks Orpik in Pittsburgh, $3.75 millions.
Gorges’ signing will certainly help convince goaltending stud Carey Price, who is slated to become a restricted free agent at season’s end, to re-sign with the Canadiens, since both B.C. players are very tight off the ice.
Keeping Gorges long-time in Montreal is definitely one of the best news of the season for the Bleu Blanc Rouge, a team that is currently ranked 13th in the Eastern Conference and will most likely miss the playoffs since the 2006-07 campaign.
What do you think is going to be Pierre Gauthier’s next move after acquiring offensive rearguard Tomas Kaberle, firing his head coach Jacques Martin and extending his most-reliable defenseman Josh Gorges?