Florian Xhekaj amped up for shot with Laval

Florian Xhekaj is sure to excite fans in Laval this season should he carve out a role, but the one most excited seems to be Xhekaj on the prospect of playing for the Rocket.
Hamilton Bulldogs v Windsor Spitfires
Hamilton Bulldogs v Windsor Spitfires / Dennis Pajot/GettyImages
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The Montreal Canadiens management team has plenty of reasons to be excited this season, Florian Xhekaj is just one of many that Kent and Jeff will have their eyes on.

Xhekaj plays the game like a bull in a China shop, but like his older brother Arber, there is a little more to his game than just grit. It would be foolish to think that he didn't grow his game an awful lot during his final season of junior hockey. The offense came alive and his confidence with the puck began to look extremely promising.

So with his excitement to have had the opportunity to play with the Rocket and the prospect of making the team out of camp, it's tough not to feel excited for him. Xhekaj is a name synonymous with work ethic and late bloomer, both Arber and Florian have hit their stride late and could become two steals. I don't imagine it will be long before the crowd is chanting Florian's name from the Place Bell crowd.

Xhekaj's high hopes should excite Rocket fans

Xhekaj's clear-cut plan is obviously to make the Rocket roster out of training camp and then establish himself as one of the top 12 forwards. Certainly, at least in my opinion, Xhekaj will exceed that and develop into a top-nine staple and possibly more before the season ends. If his final junior season indicates anything it's that Florian is still adding an offensive element to his game, playing loose and simple.

Should he continue going hard to the net and making it a nightmare to move him from there, I think he will be just fine. Xhekaj takes up space and his chippy style is sure to get under the opponent's skin. But the impressive thing is how he screens the goalie and has his stick free and in a position to create deflections and rebounds.

It's not pretty the way he plays the game, more often than not he just grinds and gets the job done. Sometimes, though, he will mix in a rush with some slick stick moves that surprises everyone. Like his surprise puck skills, I think that Xhekaj will become a fan favourite that Laval will be sad to see leave, should his NHL dream come to fruition.

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