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Florian Xhekaj signs entry-level contract with Canadiens

Brantford BulldogsFlorian Xhekaj signs entry-level contract with Canadiens

Brantford Bulldogs forward Florian Xhekaj officially signed his NHL Entry-Level Contract with the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday, April 9, 2024.

The Canadiens, who selected the power-forward in the fourth round, 101st overall in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, will report to the Laval Rocket of the American Hockey League (AHL) for the remainder of the season on a Professional Tryout Contract (PTO). 

Continuing the incredible story of the Xhekaj family, Florian went undrafted into the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and never let it deter him. Going to the Pelham Panthers of the GOJHL, Xhekaj led his team in scoring as a rookie, posting 17 goals and 23 assists for 40 points in 48 games, leading the team by double digits in points. 

Bulldogs C Florian Xhekaj rips a shot on goal from the slot early in the second period on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

His brilliant run in the GOJHL led to the Bulldogs signing him on July 15, 2022, following in the footsteps of his older brother Arber who he now officially joins in the Canadiens organization. 

Florian made immediate strides his first OHL season, posting 13 goals and 12 assists for 25 points while playing in all 68 games. Xhekaj continued his strong debut in the playoffs where he added another three points through six playoff games.

Bulldogs LW Florian Xhekaj battles for a loose puck in the offensive zone against the Kitchener Rangers on Wednesday, September 6, 2023.

Taking the ice in Brantford in his role as an offensive leader, Xhekaj responded with 34 goals and 31 assists for 65 points, nearly tripling his rookie outing, in 63 games. Trusted to take big faceoffs and kill penalties Xhekaj refined his 200-foot game in addition to his offensive explosion and imposing physical presence. 

“In signing with the Montreal Canadiens, Florian continues one of the greatest stories in hockey history,” said Matt Turek, General Manager of the Brantford Bulldogs. “To arrive as an undrafted free agent in the OHL and earn his way to an NHL contract and a future as a professional hockey player, speaks to the character and work ethic that we have seen define Florian Xhekaj. The Bulldogs organization couldn’t be prouder of what Florian has accomplished to date and what he will continue to do moving forward.”

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