Brière agrees to two-year deal with Canadiens

The Canadiens announced on Thursday afternoon that free-agent Daniel Brière has agreed to a two-year deal with the team.

Brière, who turns 36 on Oct. 6, had his contract bought out by the Philadelphia Flyers on June 20.

In a statement released by the Canadiens, Brière said he was very excited at the opportunity to join the team.

“It’s an organization I looked up to throughout my youth and I really look forward to putting on the Habs jersey and contribute to the success of the team,”  Brière said.

Brière later spoke to reporters on a conference call Thursday evening from Hearst, Ont., where he was attending Flyers forward Claude Giroux’s golf tournament.

Asked by The Gazette’s Pat Hickey if he felt he had something to prove after a few seasons where his production has dipped a bit and with the Flyers buying him out, Brière said: “Yes, definitely.”

“Last year, especially, with the short season starting behind everybody because of injuries, I am definitely looking forward to bouncing back,” Brière added.

“I’ve done that my whole life. My whole career it’s always been about finding the motivation to bounce back. Coming to Montreal makes it really easy. First of all, having the chance to play for the Canadiens. I think there is no better motivation than that. And also making up on last season. It definitely was a season where I wasn’t happy with the way things went. And I’m going to do everything in my power to turn that around.”

Brière had played centre all his career prior to the past two seasons.

“So it’s maybe a little easier,” he said. “But I have no problem to play at centre or on the wing. It’s (coach Michel Therrien) that will decide all that. I have nothing to say on that side. I want to play where he thinks it will help the team the most.”

You can listen to more of what Brière said during the conference call by clicking here. (You may have to crank up the volume.)

“Daniel Brière brings a great deal of skills, experience and leadership to our team and he is a
significant addition to our group of forwards,” Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said in the team’s statement.

“Daniel showed a great desire to pursue his career in Montreal and we are very happy that he committed to playing in Montreal for the next two seasons.”

A native of Gatineau, Brière has 286 career NHL goals in 847 games. In the postseason, the forward has 50 goals and 59 assists in 108 games played. Last season, the 5-foot-10, 179-pounder posted 6-10-16 totals and was minus-13 in 34 games with the Flyers.

While the Canadiens didn’t announce financial details, it is a two-year deal worth $8 million. Under new NHL rules this season, following the lockout, teams were permitted to talk to players and their agents as early as July 1, but no contracts can be officially signed until Friday.

(Photo by John Kenney/The Gazette)

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