Montreal Canadiens Arber Xhekaj
Photo credit: Habs EOTP

Arber Xhekaj Trade: Another Notable Insider Has Made a Major Statement on the Undrafted Defenseman's Trade Value and Kent Hughes May Have No Choice to Trade Him

Published January 14, 2024 at 9:34

Arber Xhekaj, recently demoted to the American Hockey League, is establishing himself as one of the best defenders for the Laval Rocket. The 22-year-old defenseman is making a strong impression, continuing his development and working on various aspects of the game that Kent Hughes wanted him to improve.

In addition to his imposing physical presence, enforcing the law with his solid hits, Xhekaj is demonstrating his potential for significant offensive contribution. Since joining the CH's farm team, number 72 has excelled in the offensive zone, amassing three goals and seven assists (10 points) in 13 games.

However, even with his improvements, his spot in the Canadiens' lineup is far from guaranteed. The emergence of Jayden Struble complicates matters, as he does everything in his power to retain his spot in Martin St-Louis's lineup. Additionally, it is simply inconceivable that a veteran like Mike Matheson or a young player like Kaiden Guhle would lose their spot in the defensive brigade.

Given this situation, many wonder if Xhekaj will have an opportunity to rejoin the main club soon, especially with someone like Lane Hutson potentially making his debut with the Canadiens after his college season. Where the Canadiens previously lacked defensemen in their organization, the opposite is true today.

Kent Hughes and Jeff Gorton have done a remarkable job stocking the prospect pool with promising defensemen who will one day impact the Canadiens' success. However, this congestion on the blue line will likely force the management to trade some defensemen to bolster the offense, a position where the team lacks talent.

"Xhekaj, 22, arguably has greater value than Harris and Struble due to a combination of offensive skills, imposing size at 6 feet 4 inches and 240 pounds, and fighting talent. He could fetch a first-round pick, it is said." - Mathias Brunet

Regarding this, journalist Mathias Brunet believes that the CH's GM could obtain a very attractive return for Arber Xhekaj. According to him, the defenseman's value would be enormous on the trade market, suggesting that a first-round pick would be a feasible return for Kent Hughes.

Considering the Canadiens' defensive lineup will include several excellent defenders in the coming years, such as Kaiden Guhle, Lane Hutson, David Reinbacher, Logan Mailloux, Jayden Struble, and Justin Barron, the possibility of seeing the former Hamilton Bulldogs defenseman being traded seems increasingly likely.

What do you think is the ideal scenario? Trade Arber Xhekaj for a forward or a first-round pick? Or keep him within the organization?

Certainly, Kent Hughes will have to make a significant decision regarding Xhekaj's future in Montreal.

January 14   |   281 answers
Arber Xhekaj Trade: Another Notable Insider Has Made a Major Statement on the Undrafted Defenseman's Trade Value and Kent Hughes May Have No Choice to Trade Him

Do you think the Canadiens should trade Xhekaj?

Yes3612.8 %
No24587.2 %
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