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Arber Xhekaj
Photo credit: Habs Eyes on the Prize

Arber Xhekaj to be traded soon? Kent Hughes reveals his plan for the defenseman, and rumors need to stop immediately

Published January 17, 2024 at 11:07
BY DAVID ST-JEAN

Since Arber Xhekaj was assigned to the Laval Rocket on December 4th, trade rumors surrounding him have only increased. Jayden Struble's impressive performance added fuel to the fire as he earned his spot on the team.

Many speculated that the sheriff's days in Montreal were numbered, but the best way to truly understand the organization's plans is to ask Kent Hughes directly.

That's exactly what happened. In an interview with TVA Sports in the last few hours, the Canadiens' GM was eager to dispel the rumors once and for all.

"Our plan is not to trade Arber Xhekaj. He is not in the American Hockey League because he is no longer in our plans. Arber was injured last year and again this year. Last year, we couldn't afford to assign him to the AHL. This year, Struble has shown that he is ready."


- Kent Hughes

This suggests that Xhekaj theoretically should have gone to Laval last year, but there was no one to replace him in Montreal. It must be acknowledged that this is a good thing for several reasons.

Xhekaj plays significant minutes in Laval, paired with Logan Mailloux. He has the opportunity to refine his defensive game and is very productive offensively as well.

Moreover, the Canadiens are quietly creating a two-headed monster. This duo could potentially remain intact once in the NHL and wreak havoc. We're talking about two big, robust guys with offensive and defensive qualities.

The plan is therefore to continue developing him, but definitely not to trade him. The sheriff will be back in Montreal one day, and he will be much better than during his first stint.

POLL
January 17   |   473 answers
Arber Xhekaj to be traded soon? Kent Hughes reveals his plan for the defenseman, and rumors need to stop immediately

Do you think Arber Xhekaj and Logan Mailloux will form a defensive pair in Montreal?

Yes39884.1 %
No7515.9 %
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