Montreal Canadiens hire former NHL agent Kent Hughes as new general manager

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Ryan Poehling scores on a power play (0:49)

Ryan Poehling nets a power-play goal to pull Canadiens within 1. (0:49)

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens hired player agent Kent Hughes to a five-year deal as their general manager Tuesday, hoping he can turn around a team with the worst record in the NHL.

The 51-year-old Montreal native, who becomes the 18th general manager in franchise history, replaces Marc Bergevin, who was fired Nov. 28 following the Canadiens' poor start.

Hughes has been an agent and partner of the Quebec-based firm Quartexx Management since 2016. He represented more than 20 players under NHL contracts. His past clients include Patrice Bergeron, Kris Letang, Anthony Beauvillier and Darnell Nurse.

"We are very excited to add Kent Hughes to our organization," owner Geoff Molson said in a statement. "Kent is highly-respected in the hockey world, having built an excellent reputation as an NHL player agent for over 25 years now."

Hughes joins executive vice president of hockey operations Jeff Gorton, who was hired shortly after Bergevin's dismissal, in Montreal's front office.

When he was hired, Gorton, the former GM of the New York Rangers, said the Canadiens would make it a priority to hire a French-speaking general manager to work with him.

"The process of finding our new general manager afforded us the opportunity to meet a number of extremely qualified candidates. Kent stood out, and we believe he is the right person to be the general manager of the Canadiens," Gorton said in a statement Tuesday. "We also believe that Kent's experience as an agent will be a great asset to the organization."

The Canadiens entered their game Tuesday night at Dallas in last place in the NHL overall standings with a 7-25-5 record.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.