MONTREAL (AP)Hall of Famer Martin St. Louis officially became the 32nd head coach in Montreal Canadiens’ history after signing a three-year contract extension on Monday, nearly four months after being named interim coach.

St. Louis, 46, took over from Dominique Ducharme, who was fired on Feb. 9. The Canadiens finished out the season with a 14-19-4 record under St. Louis.

”Martin is a proven leader, a great communicator with a deep understanding of and passion for the game of hockey,” general manager Kent Hughes said. ”His arrival brought a renewed energy to our group, and we look forward to him returning behind the bench to continue guiding our team for the foreseeable future.”

The Canadiens, who were Stanley Cup finalists in 2021, finished last in the NHL this season, going 22-49-11.

They hold the first overall selection in the NHL draft, which is scheduled for July 7-8 at Montreal’s Bell Centre.

Before coaching, St. Louis enjoyed a stellar playing career, collecting 1,033 points (391 goals, 642 assists) in 1,134 regular-season games with the Calgary Flames, Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers. He won the Stanley Cup and the Hart Trophy as the league MVP with the Lightning in 2004 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2018.

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