Veteran forward Travis Moen has elected to remain a Montreal Canadien for another four seasons.
The 30-year-old potential free agent agreed to a US$7.4 million, four-year contract with the club on Friday. Moen will earn $1.85 million per season after getting $1.5 million in each of the last three campaigns in Montreal.
“Travis brings tremendous leadership to our club and is very appreciated by his teammates,” general manager Marc Bergevin said in a statement, adding he was glad to sign him before the free agent market opens on Sunday.
“He has a lot of experience and brings a physical presence to our group of forwards.”
Moen said the Canadiens’ offer doused any idea of testing free agency.
”You’re always tempted because you only get a few opportunities to test the market,“ Moen said from his home in Swift Current, Sask. ”Our family loves Montreal and our first choice was to stay.
“When they’re stepping up with four years; it was something we wanted but we weren’t sure we’d get. When you get a great deal in a place you like, you take it.”
Moen said he is symptom-free from a concussion suffered in February against the New York Islanders.
“I was cleared to play the last two games, but me and the team felt it wasn’t necessary with the team out of the playoffs,” he said.
The Canadiens also added former NHL defenceman Jean-Jacques Daigneault to their coaching staff as an assistant to new bench boss Michel Therrien, and signed checking centre Petteri Nokelainen and defence prospect Brandon Nash.
The six-foot-two, 214-pound Moen was on pace for a career season in goal-scoring with nine in 48 games before the injury. The Stewart Valley, Sask., native averaged 15:42 of ice time, mostly playing a physical, checking game on the third or fourth lines.
Moen, who won a Stanley Cup with Anaheim in 2007, had has 52 goals and 107 points in 570 games. He first signed as a free agent with Montreal in 2009.
The Canadiens have reportedly made no offers to their other potential unrestricted free agents — Brad Staubitz, Chris Campoli and Michael Blunden. Mathieu Darche got a two-way offer and turned it down.
The 46-year-old Daigneault played six of his 16 NHL seasons in Montreal, winning a Stanley Cup in 1993.
Therrien’s staff is now likely complete with Daigneault, Gerard Gallant and Clement Jodoin as assistants, along with returning goaltender coach Pierre Groulx and video coach Mario Leblanc.
“Our group of defencemen will largely benefit from his experience and his solid reputation as a coach,” Therrien said of Daigneault in a statement.
Daigneault spent the last five seasons as an assistant coach with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL. He got into coaching in 2005-06 with the Phoenix Roadrunners of the ECHL.
Daigneault grew up in southwestern Montreal, playing on minor hockey teams with Bergevin and Pittsburgh Penguins owner and former star player Mario Lemieux.
Nokelainen and Nash signed one-year contracts.
Nokelainen, 26, a five-year NHL veteran, had three goals and four assists in 56 games last season. His contract pays $575,000.
He was acquired in a trade from Phoenix last October. Nokelainen has 20 goals and 21 assists in 245 career NHL games.
The 25-year-old Nash missed all of last season after suffering a shoulder injury in training camp.
The six-foot-three 214-pound blue-liner played two games for the Canadiens in 2010-11, while spending most of the season with AHL Hamilton.