Extension Achieved: Mark Barberio Signs for Two Years

"When I was called up, they just told me to play my style with speed, quick puck movement, and defensive play. That's what I'm trying to do every game." - Mark Barberio (Photo: Philippe Bouchard, Icon Sportswire)

“When I was called up, they just told me to play my style with speed, quick puck movement, and defensive play. That’s what I’m trying to do every game.” – Mark Barberio (Photo: Philippe Bouchard, Icon Sportswire)

The Montreal Canadiens have announced the extension of blue liner Mark Barberio to a two-year, one-way contract. His cap hit is set at $750, 000 (earning $800k in year one, $700k in year two) which is a fantastic deal for Montreal and comes in at great value.

Barberio was signed as free agent heading into the 2015-16 season from the Tampa Bay Lightning. They claimed that they would have liked to keep him, however, they did not see it as fair to do so if they could not provide him with a guaranteed position with their big club. Due to this decision, Montreal became a perfect landing spot for Barberio as he is also a Quebec native and they required the depth.

The puck-moving defenseman split time this season between the Habs and their AHL affiliate, the St. John’s IceCaps. In 26 games on the farm, Barberio recorded two goals and 18 assists, earning him a spot at the AHL All-Star game. However, he did not participate as he was recalled to Montreal during that time and was replaced by teammate, Morgan Ellis.

With the Canadiens, Barberio suited up for 30 games, where he had 10 points and his overall play has made others expendable as he passed a number of fellow rearguards on the depth chart. Jarred Tinordi has already been moved out of the organization, could the Canadiens send Alexei Emelin packing as well? TSN’s Bob McKenzie did state not too long ago that he would not be surprised if Montreal moved the hard-hitting Russian defenseman once his clause changes. Furthermore, it would open up cap space for a top forward that they require.

The two-year commitment to Mark Barberio joins the list of positives that GM Marc Bergevin has been making over the last number of weeks. Hopefully there are many more to come as the offseason heads into the NHL Entry Draft and free agency.

Photo from eliteprospects.com

Photo from eliteprospects.com

Barberio, 26, was drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 6th round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. He has 27 points in 133 NHL career games.

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