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Marc Dumont would not be surprised to see Arber Xhekaj start the season in Laval

Last season, Arber Xhekaj proved everyone wrong. The defenseman came from nowhere and had a great season. He fought hard on a number of occasions, scored some big goals and was generally an important piece of the team’s blue line.

Unfortunately, after a fight with Vincent Desharnais at the end of the season, the crowd favorite was injured and missed the rest of the season. Former CH employee Marc Dumont would like to see Xhekaj less involved in battles.

In addition to his 101 penalty minutes, the left-hander collected 13 points, including five goals. He also won the hearts of fans. Although he had a good rookie season, his place in next season’s line-up is not assured.

Dumont sees him in Laval to start the season.

Dumont believes it will be difficult to insert him into the NHL lineup when all the defensemen are healthy.

With Joel Edmundson, Jordan Harris, Kaiden Guhle and Mike Matheson on the left, I can see his point. And on the right are David Savard, Johnathan Kovacevic, Chris Wideman and Justin Barron. Yes, there are spots, but he’ll have to compete for them. Competition from within, that’s what we like, isn’t it?

In-season injuries could keep Xhekaj playing regularly, but with the dismissals of Graham Rynbend (head sports therapist) and Donald Balmforth (head physiotherapist), one wonders if injuries will be as important in 2023-2024. We hope not.

Obviously, two of the defensemen named above (and possibly an acquisition via the autonomous player market) will act as replacements, but if that’s the case for Xhekaj, it would be better to return him to Laval, in my opinion. After all, he’ll have to continue his development by playing, not by watching the games from the bridge. The same goes for Justin Barron, for that matter.

In bursts

– Of course.

– A name to keep an eye on.

– A good start for them.

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