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Laval: Arber Xhekaj and Juraj Slafkovsky, two different battles
The CH training camp will be exciting this year because the guys will have to fight for their positions.

We understand that some of them are already assured of starting the season with the big club, but for others… It’s different.

The same can be said for the defense. Gustav Lindström, Arber Xhekaj, Jordan Harris, Johnathan Kovacevic and Justin Barron will have to impress management to earn their role, while Kaiden Guhle, David Savard and Mike Matheson are already guaranteed a place in Martin St-Louis’ line-up.

There’s also Chris Wideman… But the defenseman could miss camp because he’s still banged up.

All this to say that there will be a battle between five guys for three positions. This morning, Renaud Lavoie explained on BPM Sports that he’s not ruling out the possibility of Arber Xhekaj starting the season in Laval…

And to me, that’s a bit illogical. It’s illogical because the Habs need a guy like him in their lineup. It may also be illogical to some because Xhekaj has already played 51 games in the NHL.

But to me, it’s illogical because Xhekaj showed so many signs of progress last year playing with the big boys , and it’s by continuing to do the same that he’ll improve.

He wasn’t the club’s best defender, and it’s true that there were times when it seemed more difficult.

That said, Arber Xhekaj has proved that he’s an NHL player because he does things the right way. There shouldn’t even be any questions, in my opinion, about said possibility of him starting next season with the Rocket.

Even with the CH’s current depth on the blue line!

Juraj Slafkovsky and Arber Xhekaj… Not the same fight

It’s funny, but we’ve been hearing the same thing about Juraj Slafkovsky lately.

All the experts and analysts are wondering whether the Rocket might be a better option for the young man’s development.

I’m not against the idea, although I’d like to see him play in the NHL.

I’m a little indifferent because, in my eyes, whether it’s Montreal or Laval… Slaf has to have a big role and he has to get the playing time he needs to progress.

That said, when you take a step back… It’s true that he’d have more of an opportunity with the Rocket, because the Habs are already counting on several young talents in Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield, Kirby Dach and Alex Newhook.

The NHL is not a development league. But the difference between Xhekaj and Slaf is that the former already has what it takes to perform and make himself useful to a National League club.

And I’m not just saying that to throw the first overall pick under the bus. At some point, you have to be realistic too.

In the end, it all depends on training camp. If Slafkovsky shows that he’s improved and proves to management that he’s more than “NHL ready”… Then the idea of sending him to Laval makes no sense.

In bursts

– It’s a done deal. The GOAT of women’s field hockey will play in Montreal.

– Still.

– Times change…

– A first pro contract for Tristan Luneau.

– Sometimes, that’s what it takes.

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