MONTREAL - The Montreal Canadiens have extended Max Pacioretty’s contract for another six seasons.

The contract, which would be worth $27 million U.S. -- an average of $4.5 million per season – will keep the American forward with the Montreal club until the end of the 2018-2019 season. He still has a year remaining on his current contract.

I wanted to do it at all times," said Pacioretty. "But it was not something available with the old management situation. I didn't know if the new management was willing to negotiate mid-contract and when I knew they were, well, I wanted to play in Montreal."

General Manager Marc Bergevin said he was pleased with the long-term deal.

"I think he is just still scratching the surface now. He's still a 23-year-old player. He works out. He's committed. We liked what we saw last year. We felt comfortable to bring him back for six years," he said.

Pacioretty just completed his fourth NHL season, leading the team in scoring with 65 points, a career high.

He finished second in the club in goals with 33 and third in assists, with 32.

In 79 games last season, Pacioretty scored five game-winning goals and earned 286 shots on goal, tied for 10th in NHL.

 A native of New Canaan, Connecticut, Pacioretty was the first-round pick, 22nd overall in the 2007 Canadian draft. He became the first American player in club history to reach 30 goals in a season, after scoring into an empty net for a 5 to 3 win against the Oilers in Edmonton on March 8.

The move was announced Monday night and comes two months after he won the Bill Masterton Trophy for perseverance, determination, and dedication to the game.

The six-foot-two, 210-pound forward native sustained a fractured neck and a concussion in March 2011 after taking a hit from Boston's Zdeno Chara, but returned to Montreal's roster the following season.

He started the Max Pacioretty Foundation to help the Montreal General Hospital Foundation raise money for a Functional MRI machine at the hospital's Traumatic Brain Injury Centre.

Subban still unsigned

Pacioretty is a key component in a core that is looking stronger by the day. Carey Price, Josh Gorges and Pacioretty are all signed to six-year commitment. The only remaining key player unsigned in P.K.Subban. A two-year deal has reportedly been rejected by the Subban camp

Bergevin said he won't discuss any negotiations.

"Out of respect for P.K. and his agent, I am not going to talk about the process with the media. It is an ongoing process, and hopefully we will get to an agreement on time," said Bergevin.

Markov looks healthy

Other big news: Defenceman Andrei Markov is seemingly healthy.

"Andrei Markov is here every day working out and looking strong. He's a big part of this team. With Andrei healthy, it is a different hockey club," he said.

With a report from La Presse Canadienne