Photo by John Mahoney of The Gazette
The Canadiens announced late Friday night that they have signed defenceman Josh Gorges to a one-year deal.
Gorges will make $2.5 million.
His salary last season, which ended with knee surgery after only 36 games, was $1.1 million.
• Pat Hickey on Gorges and the two new ass’t coaches
• Arpon Basu calls the Gorges deal “a head-scratcher”
• J.T. on the value of Gorges
The Canadiens have 21 players under contract and a salary cap total of a shade over $59 million. General manager Pierre Gauthier has his roster signed, with a healthy $5 million in cap space.
Gorges was a restricted free agent and scheduled for a July 28 arbitration hearing.
Gorges will become an unrestricted free agent next July 1 – when Carey Price, his best friend on the team, can become a RFA unless Gauthier can sign his franchise goaltender to a new contract.
It will be interesting to see how the Canadiens’ lukewarm commitment to Gorges will play in the room, where he is a team leader.
Gorges was obtained from San Jose in what may have been Bob Gainey’s most astute trade, a 2007 deadline deal that sent Craig Rivet to the Sharks for Gorges and the first-round draft choice that the Canadiens used to pick Max Pacioretty.
Announcing the deal late on Friday night is weird, even by the obsessively secretive standards of the Bell Centre Kremlin.
The team announcement:
Montreal Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier announced tonight the signing of defenseman Josh Gorges to a one-year contract (2011-12). As per club policy, financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
“We are pleased to have reached an agreement with Josh Gorges for the 2011-12 season. He is a very reliable defenseman for our club. Josh is recovering extremely well from his knee injury that kept him out of the line- up for half of the regular season and the playoffs, and we look forward to seeing him at training camp,” said Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier.
Gorges, 26, completed his sixth season with the Canadiens in the NHL in 2010-11. The defenseman registered seven points (1 goal, 6 assists) in 36 games. He served 18 penalty minutes and averaged 21:10 seconds of ice time per game. Gorges suffered a season-ending injury to his right knee on December 26 at Long Island.
Since his NHL debuts in 2005-06, Gorges has registered 59 points (9 goals, 50 assists) in 364 regular-season games. The 6’1’’, 200 lbs defenseman has recorded 183 penalty minutes and maintained a +12 plus/minus differential. Gorges has scored three of his goals on the powerplay. He has accumulated seven assists (0-7-7) in 46 career playoff contests.
A native of Kelowna, British Columbia, Gorges first signed with the San Jose Sharks as a free agent on September 20, 2002. He was acquired by the Canadiens from San Jose on February 25, 2007.
HNIC feature on Gorges:
And a fan tribute: