Preparation for the Laval Rocket’s third season continues as a trio of players inked contracts last week. First the Canadiens announced a week ago Monday that they’ve agreed to a one-year, two-way contract with Laval’s captain defenseman Xavier Ouellet (2019-20). That was followed by the Rocket announcing that the team had agreed to terms on a one-year, one-way AHL contract (2019-20) with forward Nikita Jevpalovs. The final sigining of the week was when Laval agreed to terms on a one-year, two-way AHL-ECHL contract (2019-20) with Montreal-born defenseman Ryan Culkin. Ouellet , who was named captain with the departure of Byron Froese in February recorded three assists in 19 games with the Canadiens last season, and played 47 games for the AHL’s Laval Rocket where he scored seven goals and had 19 helpers for 28 points. Born in Bayonne, France, the 25-year-old Ouellet was picked in the second round (48th overall) by the Detroit Red Wings in 2011. Last season, Nikita Jevpalovs’ versatility proved to be a valuable asset for the Rocket, with head coach Joël Bouchard using him in all situations. In 69 regular season games, the Latvian-native recorded 25 points (13 goals, 12 assists), a career-high for him in the AHL. Jevpalovs made his professional debut with the San Jose Sharks organization, playing two seasons with the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda (2015-16, 2016-17) and, collecting 18 goals and 17 assists in 125 games. He also played one season in his hometown with the KHL’s Riga Dynamo, where he suited up for 46 games. Jevpalovs, 24, played his junior hockey with the QMJHL’s Blainville-Boisbriand Armada between 2012-13 and 2014-15. Under Bouchard, he finished his Junior career putting up impressive numbers with 95 goals and 98 assists, good for 193 points in 185 regular season games. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound forward also served 98 penalty minutes and maintained a +60 differential while playing for the Armada. Ryan Culkin, 25, suited up for 10 regular season games for the Rocket last year, recording one goal and eight penalty minutes. The 6-foot-2, 201-pound athlete also sported the ECHL’s Maine Mariners colours, posting 22 points (2 goals, 20 assists) in 39 regular season contests. Culkin enjoyed a four-year Junior career between 2010-11 and 2013-14 with the Quebec Remparts, along with a brief stint with the Drummondville Voltigeurs in his final season. In 232 regular season games in the QMJHL, Culkin, a former Lac St. Louis Lion tallied 131 points (25 goals, 106 assists). Culkin was selected in the fifth round, 124th overall by the Calgary Flames at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

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