Montreal Canadiens defenseman Arber Xhekaj and New Jersey Devils forward Dawson Mercer
Photo credit: Markerzone

Arber Xhekaj Traded for Recent First-Round Pick? It Seems Like a Possibility

Published January 11, 2024 at 7:05 PM

Over the past few weeks, another issue besides the goaltending trio has garnered a lot of attention within the Montreal Canadiens organization, namely the future of Arber Xhekaj. Although Xhekaj mentioned that the management confirmed he is part of the team's long-term plans, even after being demoted to the AHL, the emergence of several left-handed defensemen might prompt Kent Hughes to make a move.

Indeed, there's no doubt that defensemen Kaiden Guhle and Lane Hutson are destined for a promising future in the NHL, expected to theoretically fill the two left spots in Montreal's top-4. However, Jayden Struble has also emerged as a hidden gem for the Canadiens, increasingly solidifying his place in Martin St-Louis's lineup.

Given that Kaiden Guhle, Lane Hutson, and Jayden Struble might all play in the defensive brigade soon, the case of Arber Xhekaj becomes quite interesting. Despite his significant physical contribution, the Blue-Blanc-Rouge might be compelled to trade him soon. He currently holds excellent value in the trade market and could certainly help the Canadiens acquire an offensive forward who can play in the top two lines.

According to Rob Ellis, there are speculations involving the Montreal Canadiens and the New Jersey Devils, and a major trade might eventually be completed.

"NHL trade rumors are as much a part of the sport as the ice itself. In fact, the latest rumor involves a potential trade between the Montreal Canadiens and the New Jersey Devils." - Rob Ellis

According to his information, former Chicoutimi Saguenéens and Drummondville Voltigeurs forward, Dawson Mercer, is attracting the attention of Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes. He believes the Canadiens could acquire the 22-year-old forward in return for The Sheriff, a trade he thinks would be highly beneficial for both teams involved.

"Dawson Mercer, a promising forward with the New Jersey Devils, has been making waves with his on-ice prowess. His play is a blend of speed, agility, and goal-scoring ability, making him a valuable asset for any team. His potential to become a leading forward is undeniable, and his current performances have attracted the attention of several teams, including the Montreal Canadiens.

On the other side of the equation is Arber Xhekaj, a player once considered untouchable by Canadiens fans. Xhekaj, known for his robustness and size, brought a definite advantage to the Montreal defense. However, his performances this season have not been up to his previous standards, leading to speculations about his future with the team. Despite these difficulties, Xhekaj's style of play would be sought after by the New Jersey Devils, who are looking to bolster their defense with a more physical presence." - Rob Ellis

Interesting indeed!

Selected 18th overall in the 2020 draft, Dawson Mercer could become a very interesting acquisition to add punch to Martin St-Louis's attack. Regularly used in Lindy Ruff's top-6, the 6'0", 180-pound forward has undeniable offensive assets, with excellent skating and goal-scoring ability. Despite some struggles this season (20 points in 38 games), his potential is huge, having recorded 27 goals and 29 assists last year.

As for Arber Xhekaj, even though he is greatly appreciated by Montreal fans, Jayden Struble is possibly surpassing him in the team hierarchy. Knowing there's already congestion on the left side of the defense, Kent Hughes might take advantage of Xhekaj's current value to bring offensive reinforcement that would certainly aid the reconstruction process undertaken by the management.

Arber Xhekaj for Dawson Mercer, 1 vs 1, would you do it?

January 11   |   301 answers
Arber Xhekaj Traded for Recent First-Round Pick? It Seems Like a Possibility

Would you trade Xhekaj for Mercer?

Yes10434.6 %
No19765.4 %
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