Montreal Canadiens defenseman Arber Xhekaj has a well known toughness, resiliency and underrated skill as well. An undrafted overager, who just so happened to be passed over by the OHL when he was the age of eligibility. But his dogged determination, and, at the time maybe a bit of a gamble on the part of Marc Bergevin, set forth a series of events that brought him to the NHL.
Now, the Canadiens have tried to catch lightning in a bottle for the second time. During day two of the 2023 NHL Draft, the Canadiens selected the younger brother of Arber, Florian from the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs. Kent Hughes and Co. picked the raw forward in the fourth round with the 101st selection.
Having said that, it’s hard not to picture what a future Canadiens’ lineup would look like with the Xhekaj brothers patrolling the ice. Maybe, there would be somewhat of a semblance to the Hanson brothers, from the famous movie series, Slapshot. There’s certainly no guarantee that Florian makes it to the NHL, but for conversational purposes, it’s a fascinating option to explore.
Certainly, the Canadiens would be a force to be reckoned with, with the option to have either of the Xhekaj boys standing up for their teammates as an option. Arber proved last year that should any team take liberties against his linemates, they would have to answer Arber and his concrete slab fists. Florian isn’t the same size as Arber, nor does he instill fear in opponents like his older brother, but he is a willing combatant.
These two could certainly ignite an electric crowd on a Saturday night at the Centre Bell.
Much like the Sedin twins in Vancouver, the Niedermayer brothers in Anaheim and the Staal brothers in Florida, the Xhekaj’s could prove to create a family affair in Montreal. One that would get the fans out of their seats, but with their rugged, physical play and their ability to keep opponents honest.
The hardest part is yet to come for Florian, but the Xhekaj family is no stranger to adversity or hard work. So doubt at your peril. Meanwhile, the glass-half-full fans will dream of another brother duo that will create havoc for opposing teams.
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