Mathieu Perreault makes a fresh start with the Canadiens – .

Mathieu Perreault makes a fresh start with the Canadiens – .

The left winger signs a one-year US $ 950,000 deal with the Habs after completing a four-year, US $ 16.5 million contract with the Winnipeg Jets.

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The Canadiens will have a new French Connection trio next season.

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After signing defenseman David Savard and center Cédric Paquette as free agents on Wednesday, Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin added left winger Mathieu Perreault on Thursday night.

“I haven’t spoken to them yet,” Perreault said at a Zoom conference on Friday when asked about the other two Francophones added to the Canadiens roster. “I’ve met them in a few charity tournaments over the past summers so I know them. But it’s very exciting to have the chance to play with French Canadians, not something I’ve had throughout my career. I’m very excited to meet all the guys and the French on the team, it would be special. So I am very excited.

With Jonathan Drouin expected to join the team for training camp after his departure for personal reasons in April, the Canadiens should have four francophones in the lineup next season. They played the first game in franchise history without a francophone late last season after Drouin left the team and Phillip Danault was sidelined with a concussion.

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Danault signed a six-year, US $ 33 million contract with the Los Angeles Kings as a free agent on Wednesday.

Perreault signed a one-year US $ 950,000 deal with the Canadiens after completing a four-year, US $ 16.5 million contract with the Winnipeg Jets. The 5-foot-10, 188-pound left winger posted 9-10-19 totals in 56 games last season averaging just 11:43 ice time.

The Washington Capitals selected Perreault in the sixth round (177th overall) of the 2006 NHL Draft. The Drummondville native was named the QMJHL’s Most Valuable Player for the 2006-07 season after posting a total of 41-78-119 in 67 games with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.

In 683 career regular season NHL games with the Capitals, Anaheim Ducks and Jets, Perreault totaled 139-205-344. His career high for goals is 18 and his career high for points is 45. He has spent the past seven seasons with the Jets.

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“I gave them everything, I did everything I could to try to win a championship there,” Perreault said of his time in Winnipeg, which ended after the Jets lost to the Canadiens in the second round of the playoffs this year. . “It didn’t work for us. At that point (Jets head coach Paul Maurice) told me he would like to find me – obviously not at the same salary. I understood it. I told them I was going to go see what else was there for me because the way the last two years have been, it wasn’t the best case scenario for me in terms of minutes and stuff like that.

“I knew they were also ready to move on and give other guys the chance to play this role,” added Perreault. “I have nothing but good things to say about Paul and (GM Kevin Cheveldayoff) in Winnipeg for all they have done for me. They basically made my career … all the good money I’ve made in this league comes from trusting me and giving me the chance to play with them and win a Stanley Cup, which we could not do.

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Perreault can play all three attacking positions, but was moved from center to wing in Winnipeg due to back problems he had during the faceoffs. He said he spoke with the coach Habs chief Dominique Ducharme and told him he can play center again if needed.

Perreault grew up cheering on the Canadiens and the Saku Koivu center.

“The last time they won the Cup (in 1993) I was too young to remember,” said Perreault. “But growing up, Saku Koivu was definitely my favorite Habs player. I just loved the way he played. He was a smaller center, just as I was growing up, so I kind of shaped my game around what he was doing. I always liked it.

As for his new role with the Canadiens, Perreault said, “It all depends on how I play, really. You arrive in a new team, you have to prove what you can do and earn your place in the roster. I built my career on it. I entered the league that way. I’ve always played every game like there’s a chance I won’t be in the lineup the next game, so I have to play that night and come to Montreal with the same idea.

“If you play your best game, you have a chance to stay in the lineup. If you don’t, you might get out, ”he added. “That’s how I see it and we’ll go from there.” “

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