Habs Ink Theodore

Archived from 2002-03 season.

NHL teams

The Montreal Canadiens averted a major crisis by signing restricted free agent goaltender Jose Theodore to a three-year, $16.5 million contract.

"It was really important for myself and for the team that I didn't miss the start of training camp," he said. "I was always confident that a deal would get done before the start of the season."

Theodore won both the Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player and the Vezina as the top goalie last season when he led the Canadiens to the playoffs for the first time in four years.

"We are very pleased to have concluded a multi-season agreement with Jose, who played an important role with our team last season," Montreal general manager Andre Savard said. "Jose is a young goaltender with a great deal of maturity and determination."

The deal makes Theodore, who earned $1.65 million last season, the the highest-paid player in franchise history.

"I have a job to do -- stop the puck," he said. "It's important to know the money is there, but the main thing is that I love playing hockey. It's still a game. I go to practice every day with the same feeling I had when I was making $35 a week in junior hockey."

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