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Montreal Canadiens defenseman Arber Xhekaj
Photo credit: LaPresse

Sad announcement for Arber Xhekaj: it may be over

Published April 14, 2024 at 9:17
By: AARON ITOVITCH
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Aaron Itovitch
April 14, 2024  (9:17)
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In recent days, some unfortunate news has emerged regarding Montreal Canadiens defenseman Arber Xhekaj.

After missing more than 30 games due to a left shoulder injury in the 2022-2023 season, it appears that number 72 has suffered a similar injury, and this just as there were only seven games left in the regular season schedule. Moreover, the organization has recently confirmed that Xhekaj will need to travel to Colorado to undergo right shoulder surgery.

Unfortunately, this announcement means that the defenseman will be unable to finish the year, and this for a second consecutive year. While the Canadiens have mentioned that the «Sheriff» should be able to start the next campaign, new concerns are emerging about his future in Montreal.

Indeed, many observers have even suggested that the general manager of the Bleu-Blanc-Rouge, Kent Hughes, might look for a dance partner this summer to acquire a top 6 forward in return for Arber Xhekaj. After all, it wouldn't be surprising if a left-handed defenseman were to leave the organization soon to make room for Lane Hutson, and the recent injury makes Xhekaj a prime candidate.


However, according to Tony Marinaro on BPM Sports, this second surgery could greatly affect the performance of the 23-year-old and his value on the trade market. Arber Xhekaj is known for his robust playing style and his ability to drop the gloves, aspects that could be disrupted by his two surgeries.

A player who has to undergo two shoulder surgeries in less than a year is far from ideal, especially for a fighter. It should be noted that Xhekaj only dropped the gloves five times this season. Is this due to directives from Martin St-Louis or because his shoulder prevented him from doing so?

Tony Marinaro is convinced that Arber Xhekaj's value has significantly decreased on the trade market, despite being worth his weight in gold just a few weeks ago. According to him, number 72 has potentially lost half of his value, which would be catastrophic news for Kent Hughes and the Montreal Canadiens.

«It doesn't look good. If he can't fight and be physical, he's less useful in the lineup. His value is half of what it was 48 hours ago.» - Tony Marinaro

Certainly, it will be interesting to see the general manager's plan during the off-season, but given that Xhekaj will be sidelined for several months, it would be surprising if teams previously interested in his services were willing to offer a very attractive return to the Canadiens.

Moreover, his preparation for the 2024-2025 campaign will be greatly affected, a situation that could play against him. We remember how he struggled during training camp this year, and this situation could certainly recur at the beginning of the next season.

At 23 years old, Arber Xhekaj has scored three goals and four assists (seven points) in 44 games this year, notably accruing 81 penalty minutes. It should be noted that he will become a restricted free agent this summer, with his entry-level contract ending in the coming days.

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14 APRIL   |   233 ANSWERS
Sad announcement for Arber Xhekaj: it may be over

Should the Canadiens trade Xhekaj this off-season?

Yes3615.5 %
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