The Montreal Canadiens announced that they have signed forward Xavier Simoneau to a two-year, entry-level contract. The deal covers the 2023-24 and 2024-25 seasons and carries a cap hit of $855K. Simoneau gets an $80K signing bonus for each season and would be paid $775K at the NHL level, or $80K in the AHL.
The former sixth-round pick has spent this season with the Laval Rocket of the AHL where he has 28 points in 44 games. At 5’7” and 175 pounds, Simoneau is certainly undersized, this might explain him falling to Montreal that late in the draft. Although he is on the smaller side, Simoneau is regarded as a high energy forechecker and a bit of an agitator. Scouts also consider him an excellent shot blocker and penalty killer. He does have some playmaking to his game as he averaged over a point per game in his final three seasons in the QMJHL. He’s also shown himself to be a leader, having spent several seasons as captain of the Drummondville Voltigeurs, as well as winning the CHL Humanitarian of the Year Award in 2019-20.
While Montreal has a lot of veteran forwards signed for next season, they have just five signed to NHL deals for 2024-25. Should Simoneau continue to develop his game in Laval, he may be able to join some of the Canadiens other young forwards and carve out a role in Montreal’s bottom 6.
This contract indicates that the Canadiens are encouraged by the development of their former sixth round pick. While Simoneau doesn’t project to be an answer in their top-6, he could fill a role in their bottom-6 sooner than later.