Montreal Canadiens Rumor: Habs Turned Down Big Offer For Arber Xhekaj

Oct 23, 2023; Buffalo, New York, USA;  Montreal Canadiens defenseman Arber Xhekaj
Oct 23, 2023; Buffalo, New York, USA; Montreal Canadiens defenseman Arber Xhekaj / Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Canadiens continued their season last night with another one goal game. They lost in overtime to the Pittsburgh Penguins, a team surprisingly not that far ahead of them in the standings.

The Canadiens now have 48 points in 49 games which is impressive considering they were expected to be worse than this when Kirby Dach and Alex Newhook were healthy.

Still, there is a wide margin between them and the postseason picture. As we approach the March 8 trade deadline the Canadiens will be sellers. While that usually means moving out veteran players for future draft picks and prospects, the Canadiens will need to make a different type of trade soon as well.

They simply have too many options on left defense and can't play everyone. Mike Matheson has played the most at that position and Kaiden Guhle is taking on a big role as well. Jordan Harris, Jayden Struble and Arber Xhekaj give the team five left shot options on the blue line.

Lane Hutson will be joining the team before the end of the season as well. They just won't have room for all of them and need to move one at least. The team made similar maneuvers two summers ago when they traded Alex Romanov for a first round pick and then flipped that pick with a couple others for Kirby Dach.

We could see another trade similar to that one in the near future, but the Canadiens are in no rush to pull the trigger.

A recent article from David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period had a tidbit about Xhekaj trade talks. He mentions the Canadiens were offered a young NHL forward, a former first round pick with second line potential, and the Habs refused the deal.

Now, without knowing who the actual player is it is difficult to say whether this was the right call by the Canadiens or not. However, it does suggest the team has a pretty high asking price for Xhekaj.

The big, rugged defender was recently demoted to the AHL and scored 11 points in 17 games before being recalled by the Canadiens. Head Coach Martin St. Louis is not impressed with Xhekaj's penalties, but anyone can see a unique package of skill and size.

We should definitely expect a defensman for a forward trade by the Canadiens in the future, perhaps as soon as the trade deadline. But, don't expect general manager Kent Hughes to make a deal just to clear the logjam. He is obviously waiting for an enormous return in any trade.