Montreal Canadiens defenseman Arber Xhekaj
Photo credit: Yardbarker

MAJOR: Martin St. Louis Officially Decides Arber Xhekaj's Fate

Published February 26, 2024 at 9:21 PM

Arber Xhekaj was scratched from the lineup several times over the past few weeks, to the point where some rumors about his relationship with Martin St-Louis and his future in Montreal began to circulate in the media.

However, the defenseman had excellent performances in the last three games. Returning to his good old habits, the sheriff showcased his qualities that allowed him to succeed in the NHL last year, namely practicing a robust style of play and enforcing the law in his own territory.

Moreover, the head coach of the Montreal Canadiens made a significant move during the team's morning practice by giving a promotion to CH's number 72. Indeed, primarily used on the third defensive pair this season, Xhekaj now finds himself on the second pair alongside veteran David Savard.

« Practice lineup:

Note that Jake Evans is absent (treatments). Michael Pezzetta takes his place for practice.

Cole Caufield -- Nick Suzuki -- Juraj Slafkovsky
Joshua Roy -- Alex Newhook -- Joel Armia
Brendan Gallagher -- Michael Pezzetta -- Josh Anderson
Tanner Pearson -- Colin White -- Jesse Ylonen

Mike Matheson -- Kaiden Guhle
Arber Xhekaj -- David Savard
Jayden Struble -- Jordan Harris
Johnathan Kovacevic » - Patrick Friolet

Wow! We love it!

He is finally rewarded for his excellent performances, and we are very happy for him, especially considering he was sent down to the American Hockey League earlier this season. It should not be forgotten that at 23 years old, Arber Xhekaj still has a very large margin for progress, and we hope he will be able to raise his level of play a notch.

It is worth noting that during his press conference this morning, Martin St-Louis was very complimentary towards his young protégé, indicating that Wifi was constantly working on the points he needs to improve and that he is truly headed in the right direction.

« I've said it, evolution is never linear, but I find that he's going in the right direction. He plays to his identity, he works on the things we talk about, and he's finding consistency recently.

It's day by day, and it's about continuing in the direction he's going, but I'm happy with where he is today. » - Martin St-Louis

It's great to see MSL so positive about the development of his young defenseman. Such comments will certainly help Arber Xhekaj to keep confident and continue to perform well.

At 23 years old, the 6'4" and 240-pound defenseman has accumulated three goals and three assists (six points) in 27 games. He has also incurred 60 minutes of penalties, all while posting an impressive differential of -1.

Credit: Habs et LNH
February 26   |   622 answers
MAJOR: Martin St. Louis Officially Decides Arber Xhekaj's Fate

Do you think Xhekaj can become a solid top-4 guy?

Yes53085.2 %
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