laraque-georges-392-cp-080312

Georges Laraque, left, will play in Quebec for the first time since his junior days. ((Keith Srakocic/Associated Press))

The Montreal Canadiens added some much-needed toughness to their skillful forward corps, signing free agent Georges Laraque on Thursday.

The Canadiens added a second Montreal native not long after, coming to terms with goaltender Marc Denis.

Montreal inked Laraque, 31, to a deal worth $4.5 million US over three years.

Laraque scored four goals and nine assists with 141 penalty minutes in 71 regular season games with the Pittsburgh Penguins the past season. He added three points in 15 playoff games.

The Montreal native has tallied 52 goals and 96 assists in 634 career regular season games, with 1,037 penalty minutes. He played with Edmonton and Phoenix prior to joining Pittsburgh in early 2007.

"A 10-year veteran, Georges is the kind of player who made his mark in the NHL," Habs GM Bob Gainey said in a statement. "With his physical play and determination, we are convinced that he will add valuable energy to our group of players."

The six-foot-three-inch, 240-pound right-winger was drafted 31st overall by Edmonton in the 1995 NHL entry draft.

From Danis to Denis

Goalie Denis was signed to a one-year, two-way deal after a disastrous season with Tampa Bay during which he was placed on waivers.

Denis, who began his career with Colorado, played well over five years with Columbus before his disappointing tenure with the Lightning.

Denis has recorded 16 shutouts and an even 3.00 goals-against average in 338 NHL appearances.

He was bought out by Tampa Bay last week, with the Lightning owing him $2 million US over the next two seasons.

The 30-year-old gives the club goaltending depth behind young goaltenders Carey Price and Jaroslav Halak. The Canadiens parted ways with goaltender Yann Danis, who signed earlier this week with the New York Islanders.