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Martin St-Louis disappointed
Photo credit: Journal de Montreal

The official end of Arber Xhekaj in Montreal? Martin St-Louis comments on his young defenseman's game, and it doesn't look good

Published January 26, 2024 at 10:33
BY DAVID ST-JEAN

The least we can say is that Arber Xhekaj's return is not as successful as he would have hoped. The young player is clearly very nervous and afraid of making mistakes, leading to a much less effective performance.

Xhekaj was sent to Laval for two reasons: to improve his defensive game and to be more disciplined. He worked hard on both aspects of his game with the Rocket, but he has returned to his old habits with the Canadiens.

Questioned about his two penalties against the Islanders and the one in the third period against the Senators, Martin St-Louis was not amused.

Reporter: «Arber Xhekaj had two penalties tonight & he had one last game in the 3rd period. What do you think about it considering he just came back from the AHL?»


Coach Marty St-Louis: «I don't like it.»

It's especially St-Louis's expression when talking about Xhekaj's game that speaks volumes. He seems very disappointed, even frustrated with how things are turning out.

In reality, even his defensive game leaves much to be desired. He has been the victim of several turnovers, which is hard to explain considering he played so well in Laval.

"It's certainly not the NHL comeback that everyone would have hoped for Xhekaj. Many turnovers and a lot of unnecessary penalties. It's strange how, the moment he was called up, all the confidence he built up in the AHL vanished." - Cédrick Blais-Turcotte

Word is already spreading, and his return to the Rocket might happen sooner than expected. Jordan Harris is currently sidelined, and Lane Hutson and Adam Engstrom will likely arrive in the coming weeks. If his game doesn't improve, the opportunity might go to another defenseman.

"It's been tough for Xhekaj since his return to Montreal as he took three penalties. If this continues, he might go back to Laval." - Kevin Lefrançois



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January 26   |   599 answers
The official end of Arber Xhekaj in Montreal? Martin St-Louis comments on his young defenseman's game, and it doesn't look good

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