- Associated Press
Sunday, July 1, 2012

BROSSARD, QUEBEC (AP) - Marc Bergevin was a busy man on his first foray into NHL free agency as a general manager, signing three players for the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday.

Bergevin signed rugged left wing Brandon Prust from the New York Rangers to a $10 million, four-year contract and singed right wing Colby Armstrong from the Toronto Maple Leafs to a $1 million, one-year deal.

They also brought back veteran defenseman Francis Bouillon from the Nashville Predators for $1 million over one year.

The Canadiens only confirmed the Prust signing, although Armstrong announced his contract himself on Twitter and Bouillon spoke about his new deals with various media.

A team spokesman said Bergevin was still working on deals and would not talk to the media until Monday.

Prust played in all 82 games the past two seasons in New York. His production dipped from 13 goals and 29 points two years ago to five goals and 12 assists last season.

“I think having me there is important and will make our jobs easier moving forward,” Prust said. “That’s something I got out of our conversations. They wanted to add a bit of grit.

“It’s good to have a little more team toughness. Other teams coming into our building will know they’re in for a long night.”

Prust said he spoke to Rangers coach John Tortorella on Sunday and was sad to go, but felt the offer from Montreal was better.

“In the end, (the Rangers) weren’t close to where Montreal was,” he said. “Montreal showed a lot more interest.

“I felt I fit into their lineup. The team is moving in the right direction and I wanted to be part of that.”

The 28-year-old is a strong penalty killer and is going into his fifth NHL season. He was drafted 70th overall in 2004 by Calgary.

Armstrong became a free agent when the final year of his contract was bought out by the Leafs. He will earn $2 million next season, with half paid by Toronto.

The 29-year-old broke into the NHL with the Penguins in 2005-06 and played in Atlanta before joining the Leafs two seasons ago. His time in Toronto was marked by injuries as he played only 29 games last season, picking up a goal and a two assists.

Bouillon is strong and can play a physical game. The 36-year-old played his first 10 seasons with the Canadiens before moving to the Predators in 2009, appearing in 66 games last season with four goals and seven assists.

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