Montreal Canadiens: Arber Xhekaj Is Only 23 Years Old...Let's Collectively Take A Deep Breath

New York Islanders v Montreal Canadiens
New York Islanders v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages
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Arber Xhekaj
Toronto Maple Leafs v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

Another narrative, which appears to be littered through a bunch of different clickbait articles - is that Xhekaj will be moved. The rumour mill is chocked full of apparent breaking new, with no legitimate sources to confirm anything. And the reason for that is because you don't trade him, unless Hughes receives a hefty offer.

Do I overvalue the player, no I don't believe that I do - I simply value what he brings to the Canadiens. Albeit a small sample size in the NHL (This year), Xhekaj's offensive game has taken considerable strides. And his strong defensive play has directly correlated to offensive chances, in the AHL anyways.

His blend of size and mobility stands out in a pool full of swift-skating, offensive-minded defenders. Of the defenders that have NHL upside, nobody can do what Xhekaj does. Struble is tough, but Xhekaj is in another weight class, not that it needed to be said.

It's also less about him punching guys' helmets off their heads and more about the fact that he isn't a meathead defenseman. He has used his strength, large frame and long reach for a lot of good things, especially away from the puck. An area that the Canadiens coaching staff were adamant about him improving upon.

With a larger sample size, and hopefully an increase in his ice time, Xhekaj's growth with the puck on his stick should start to show. The shot and lateral mobility were certainly there, but the increased reps with the Rocket looked promising. His confidence undoubtedly grew, because he was using his shot as a weapon.

Now the thought of him on a powerplay unit in Montreal, doesn't seem out of reach. Which is a far cry from the apparent thoughts of trading the strapping defenseman. I am not the first, nor will I be the last to say that Habs media can be wild at the best of times.

This shall pass and something new will take centre stage - a riff between Martin St. Louis and Xhekaj perhaps. I think trading Xhekaj would be a mistake, one of many that this club has made that aged like milk.