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Montreal Canadiens sign three-year contract with Arber Xhekaj

The defenceman made an impression at the team’s camp.

NHL: SEP 26 Montreal Canadiens Scrimmage Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Montreal Canadiens have signed a three-year, two-way contract with defenceman Arber Xhekaj.

The 20-year-old defenceman will be released from training camp and sent to the Ontario Hockey League’s Kitchener Rangers. He will be eligible to join the Laval Rocket or the Trois-Rivières Lions after the OHL season is over.

The deal will pay Xhekaj $750,000 in salary in the NHL in 2021-22 and 2022-23, and $775,000 in 2023-24, while it will see him earn $70,000 in the AHL. The contract also contains signing bonuses of $80,000 (2021-22), $70,000 (2022-23) and $60,000 (2023-24).

Xhekaj was a tryout invite to both Rookie Camp and the team’s main training camp. He was not drafted. The 6’4”, 225lb defenceman had eight goals and 12 assists in 110 career OHL games. He played two pre-season games with the Canadiens.

Xhekaj is a Hamilton, Ontario native, and did not play in the 2020-21 season as the OHL season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.