General manager Marc Bergevin staying in Montreal long term

The man who has turned the Montreal Canadiens into perennial contenders will be around for a while longer.

General manager Marc Bergevin has signed an extension through the 2021-22 season, the Canadiens announced Wednesday.

"This new agreement brings added stability for our organization and particularly for our hockey operations. It enables us to continue our efforts in giving our fans a winning team," Montreal president Geoff Molson said in a statement. "Marc is an excellent general manager who quickly made an impact in the league with his leadership skills and his ability to identify the needs and find the personnel to assemble a championship team. I am very pleased with his work and the results he has achieved since his appointment as general manager."

Telling of Bergevin's reputation around the league was the reaction from fellow GMs.

"The Montreal Canadiens are one of the best teams in the league. They've proved that over the last couple of years, and again in the process of doing so this year, and it's really a credit to the job Marc Bergevin and his people have done," veteran Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland said. "They're a legitimate Cup contender; Marc has overseen them going from worst to first, and he's built a team there and an organization that's built for the long haul. And around the general managers' room, he's certainly regarded as one of the top people in the group.''

Added veteran Toronto Maple Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello: "I'm extremely happy for him. It's well-deserved. He's done an outstanding job there. He's a good man.''

Bergevin became a first-time NHL GM in May 2012, when the Habs took a chance on him, plucking him out of the Chicago Blackhawks front office and assigning him with turning around an Original Six franchise that had just placed 15th in the Eastern Conference.

In Bergevin's first season, the Habs won their division, then followed that up with back-to-back 100-plus point seasons and a trip to the Eastern Conference finals. All the while, Bergevin's focus has been to rebuild the organization's foundation through the draft and player development while making a series of shrewd acquisitions and maintaining his salary cap/payroll with dexterity.

"He has done a great job since his arrival in Montreal,'' said Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill, who texted Bergevin to congratulate him Wednesday. "The team plays the game the right way, which is a compliment to the staff he has hired and the players he has developed. He is very respected in the hockey business.''

Bergevin's new deal kicks in after next season, when his original deal expires.

"He was a tireless worker before he got that job with the Blackhawks,'' St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong said. "I think he's now working in the most difficult market in the game. ... I think he's done a fabulous job there. He went in there; there were some good pieces to build around, and he did a really nice job of building around those guys. They've drafted well. He's touched every aspect of the Canadiens. And not only do they look like a strong team again this year, but it looks like it has staying power.

"[The extension] is well-deserved.''

Plus, Armstrong joked, Bergevin needs the extension to afford his fancy-looking wardrobe.

"He's won the best-dressed GM award for three years running now,'' Armstrong said.

Dean Lombardi, GM for the two-time Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, responded via email with both serious praise for Bergevin and a little humor from the Montreal GM's scouting days, underlining Bergevin's own sense of humor.

"No question it is well deserved," Lombardi said of Bergevin's extension. "He is one of the best in the league and does it in what unquestionably is the most demanding environment -- but it does not surprise me -- when I was scouting for [the Philadelphia Flyers] I saw how hard he worked as a scout learning personnel -- he was always focused and trained himself from the ground up -- my only complaint was he once changed a news release for the [NHL] player of the month and voted himself scout of the month."