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Arber Xhekaj
Photo credit: TSN

MAJOR: Arber Xhekaj will be traded, and here's why

Published January 28, 2024 at 3:07
BY DAVID ST-JEAN

It's a hot and highly sensitive topic regarding Arber Xhekaj's availability on the trade market. He has become a fan favorite, and rightly so, as he has acted as an enforcer on the ice at the Bell Centre and elsewhere for over a year.

It's been a long time since the Canadiens had a player of his caliber, someone ready to drop the gloves with anyone and defend his teammates, in addition to surprising offensive skills.

Arber Xhekaj is a fan favorite and also for All Habs



Let's make it clear right away – we love Arber and don't wish for his departure. He brings a physical dimension and commands a respect we haven't had in a long time.


The issue lies more in his defensive zone, but he is still young. However, his qualities may not be sufficient, and Kent Hughes might be trying to trade him.

'I know it's a polarizing topic, and I have an unpopular opinion on this, but the truth is that it would be surprising if Xhekaj is among the top 3 left-handed defensemen in the organization in 2-3 years (if he is currently).

Yes, the toughness/fear factor is a nice addition to his game, but will it be enough for him to be a "must" in the lineup long-term? I doubt it!

Currently, his value is high, and we know that KH appreciates "sell high." Everyone liked Romanov, but who really misses him right now? A situation that will be interesting to follow!'

The fact is that the Canadiens have a lot of depth on the left side, and it's not over with the highly probable arrival of Lane Hutson and Adam Engstrom at the end of the season.

Looking at it differently

The Canadiens are saturated on the left side, and Kent Hughes admitted that he wants to trade one or more left-handed defenseman(s) to acquire one or more forward(s).

Xhekaj was called up when there was already a surplus, leading to the demotion of Justin Barron to Laval and Jordan Harris sitting in the stands. Furthermore, in his first game back, more than 25 scouts were present at the Bell Centre. Coincidence?

Kent Hughes, although he may not want to admit it, is negotiating him, no doubt about it. If he really intended to develop Xhekaj long-term, he would have left him in Laval. He formed a solid pair with Logan Mailloux.

POLL
January 28   |   770 answers
MAJOR: Arber Xhekaj will be traded, and here's why

In your opinion, should Arber Xhekaj be traded while he has value?

Yes25733.4 %
No51366.6 %
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