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Montreal Canadiens sign Xavier Simoneau to entry-level contract

The forward earned the NHL deal with a great first pro season.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Montreal Canadiens Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

The Montreal Canadiens have signed forward prospect Xavier Simoneau to his two-year entry-level contract.

The contract starts next season, as Simoneau continues to play this year on his AHL contract with the Laval Rocket. The 21-year-old is eligible for a two-year entry-level contract due to his age. Wednesday was the first day that teams can sign contracts starting in 2023-24.

Simoneau has five goals and 23 assists in 44 AHL games this season, his first professional year after playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He is taking a path followed by Rafaël Harvey-Pinard before him — being an overage selection in the NHL Draft, playing a year in the AHL, and earning his NHL deal.

Simoneau is 5’6”, 183 lbs, and was the team’s sixth-round pick (191st overall) in the 2021 NHL Draft. Despite his size, he is extremely strong and doesn’t shy away from puck battles, and often comes out on the winning side.

It made sense for the team to see how he would adjust to professional hockey, and he has more than earned his first NHL contract. He is now the fifth player from the Canadiens’ 2021 class to sign an NHL contract.