Major: The exact reason for Arber Xhekaj's demotion to Laval is revealed

Published December 5, 2023 at 3:35 PM
BY DAVID ST-JEAN

It has been said many times since Arber Xhekaj officially made the team last year: he's not just a fighter. He's a defenseman who knows how to play hockey, as evidenced by some appearances on the second wave of the power play.

Martin St-Louis gave him chances to show what he's capable of, but overall, Xhekaj has been quite ordinary since the start of the season. Sending him to Laval clearly indicates that the organization doesn't intend to have a player just for dropping the gloves.

Regarding this, Arber commented on his demotion and gave the reason for it.

Arber Xhekaj on the #Habs decision to send him to the AHL:


«It was a little bit of a surprise it made sense from their point. They just want to see me play a lot of minutes and develop my game.»

Certainly, on a third pair in Montreal, Xhekaj can't progress as much as if he plays a lot of minutes in a top-four role with the Rocket.

Rocket head coach Jean-François Houle will do everything in his power to give him the time and tools to improve. However, he admits it could take a while.

"I wasn't given a deadline; they just told me he was coming down and that he needed to improve." - J-F Houle

There you have it, the message is clear. The Canadiens are not satisfied with the play of the defenseman to the point where Xhekaj needs significant improvement in Laval. It's good news under the circumstances. The Canadiens are sending him down for development rather than putting his name on the trade market.

Don't be surprised if the defenseman spends the rest of the year in the AHL.

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December 5   |   307 answers
Major: The exact reason for Arber Xhekaj's demotion to Laval is revealed

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