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The Montreal Canadiens have signed general manager and executive vice president Marc Bergevin to a multi-year contract extension through the end of the 2021-22 season.Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

Recently it was put to Montreal Canadiens majority owner Geoff Molson he could easily double his family's initial investment by putting a For Sale sign in the window.

His face expressed what can only be described as mild horror.

"That's not happening," the 45-year-old brewery family scion said. "We view this as a long-term investment. As in very long term."

Fast forward a few weeks and the Habs president clearly means what he says.

Just days after Forbes magazine established Montreal as the second-most valuable franchise in the NHL – just behind the New York Rangers, ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs – Molson signed general manager Marc Bergevin to a five-year contract extension that will bind him to the club until 2022.

He didn't need to do it now. Bergevin is already under contract through the 2016-17 season. This was about ensuring continuity and stability.

Should Bergevin see out his full term he'll be the longest-serving Habs GM since Serge Savard (1983-95), coincidentally the last to inscribe his name on the Stanley Cup.

In the four years preceding Bergevin's arrival, the Habs had four different head coaches, two GMs, an ownership change, a first-place finish and a last-place one. Molson identified the churn as a problem and promised culture change.

In the three-plus seasons since then? No major amendments to the hockey department organizational chart, absent Gerard Gallant leaving to become Florida's head coach.

The Habs' successes in Bergevin's first three years at the commands – a conference final appearance, two division titles – and the club's record-setting start in 2015 justify a new pact.

But more than that, he's followed through on the plan he sold to Molson and Savard, the search committee chairman: building a powerhouse player-development organization to keep the pipeline flowing and make the Habs a perennial contender.

An alumnus of both the Chicago Blackhawks' and Detroit Red Wings' systems, Bergevin concocted a strategy and he's followed it.

Consider: The Habs' minor-league affiliate in St. John's has no fewer than 15 players drafted or signed out of junior or college since Bergevin arrived in the spring of 2012 (three more are in Montreal's lineup).

Several of the youngsters – including Michael McCarron and Charles Hudon – are serious NHL prospects. They will be given time to find their game as pros.

One of Bergevin's best moves was to retain amateur scouting director Trevor Timmins; another was to hire savvy assistant GMs and pro scouts (it's how you turn Raphael Diaz into Dale Weise) and development guru Martin Lapointe.

The overall sense is the Habs have propped open their championship window and are building toward an elusive 25th Cup. Molson clearly believes Bergevin deserves a chance to finish the job.

Montreal's core of young stars is signed to long-term, mostly team-friendly contracts – Bergevin saw to that. When it comes time for goaltender Carey Price to negotiate a new deal in 2018, it seems he'll have the same GM sitting across the table as last time.

Same goes for captain Max Pacioretty, who in a testament to Bergevin's negotiating acumen fired his agent not long after signing his six-year pact.

In 2014, the club signed coach Michel Therrien to a four-year extension and inked superstar defenceman P.K. Subban to the longest and richest contract in club history: eight years, $72-million (U.S.).

Then followed deals for winger Brendan Gallagher (six years) and defenceman Jeff Petry (also six). Nine current Habs are on contracts longer than three years.

It's a contrast with the Bob Gainey/Pierre Gauthier era, although in fairness they left a nicely stocked cupboard.

Everyone's a critic, and the preferred gripe about Bergevin is he inherited key pieces and is not immune from clunkers (such as signing Douglas Murray or trading Brandon Prust for Zack Kassian).

The same can be said of anyone.

Bergevin has also managed the salary cap deftly and turned over the roster by swinging a raft of canny deals such as the acquisition of Petry. He has also ferreted out gems such as training camp invitee Tomas Fleischmann.

He's also proved adept at fixing his mistakes and his team – flaws or no – is firmly ensconced in the NHL elite.

Whenever a GM is fired, club executives dream of unearthing a contemporary version of Sam Pollock or Frank Selke.

Molson evidently thinks he's found his.