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Montreal Canadiens' player Louis Leblanc arrives for an informal training session at the Canadiens' training facility in Brossard, Que., Monday, September 17, 2012 on day two of the NHL lockout.

Graham Hughes/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The Montreal Canadiens have assigned 21 players, including forwards Blake Geoffrion and Louis Leblanc, to the American Hockey League's Hamilton Bulldogs.

The move comes after the NHL locked out its players when the collective bargaining agreement between the league and NHL Players' Association expired at midnight ET on Saturday.

The Canadiens also assigned forwards Alexander Avtsin, Alain Berger, Michael Blunden, Michael Bournival, Gabriel Dumont, Brendan Gallagher, Patrick Holland, Philippe Lefebvre, Joonas Nattinen, Steven Quailer and Ian Schultz.

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Defencemen Nathan Beaulieu, Morgan Ellis, Brendon Nash, Greg Pateryn, Joe Stejskal and Jarred Tinordi and goaltenders Peter Delmas and Robert Mayer will also suit up for Hamilton.

All the players assigned are on two-way, entry-level contracts.

Several teams have been sending players with entry-level contracts to their minor-league affiliates, including some big names like Edmonton's Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Carolina's Jeff Skinner and New Jersey's Adam Henrique.

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