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Florian Xhekaj is blossoming offensively this season in the OHL

Given that the Montreal Canadiens are in the midst of a major rebuild, it’s only natural that we keep a close eye on the performances of the organization’s various prospects.

Whether it’s directly in the NHL in Montreal, in the AHL in Laval, or anywhere else, be it in the junior leagues or in Europe, it’s exciting to follow the prospects.

Of course, some are more talked-about than others, and therefore held in higher esteem by the organization and the fans.

The Hutson’s, Roy’s, Mailloux’s, Reinbacher’s and Mesar’s of this world take up a lot of space when it comes to talking about CH prospects, but that doesn’t mean that other prospects aren’t entitled to their moment in the spotlight.

In fact, there are several other young players who deserve attention this season, and one of them is Florian Xhekaj.

Initially, the selection of Sheriff Arber’s younger brother in the fourth round was roundly criticized.

Analysts and fans across the NHL had claimed that Xhekaj had been selected far too hastily, given that he had broken absolutely nothing in his first OHL season, with 25 points, including 13 goals, in 68 games.

These are the stats of a depth player in the OHL, which wasn’t really worth a fourth-round pick.

However, this season, Xhekaj is proving that there’s a lot more to him than just the fact that he’s Arber’s brother behind his 101ᵉ draft selection.

Indeed, the 19-year-old forward is blossoming offensively, something the CH believed possible and hoped for by selecting him so high in the fourth round.

Xhekaj already has 10 points, including six goals, in 13 games this season with the Brantford Bulldogs.

He scored two goals last night in the Bulldogs’ 5-3 win over the Niagara IceDogs.

These are two fine goals from Xhekaj, of course, but what also stands out is his attitude after both goals.

He had no qualms about taunting his opponents and the crowd.

This even led to a small melee, which Xhekaj was quick to join.

So, not only does Xhekaj upset the opposition with his robust play and taunting side, he’s also able to put points on the board.

10 points in 13 games is no mean feat for a guy who already has 20 penalty minutes and three game misconducts since the start of the season.

Florian’s style of play is very similar to that of his big brother Arber.

The only difference is that he’s a striker, so he can afford more fights and penalties.

Losing him for five minutes hurts less than losing a defender like Arber Xhekaj for five minutes.

In short, Florian Xhekaj is slowly developing and blossoming offensively in the OHL.

He’s proving the Tricolore right for selecting him so highly.

If he keeps up the momentum in his development, we could very well see him in the pros sooner rather than later.

He’s the kind of player you always need on the fourth line.

And apart from that, who would say no to two Xhekaj in the Montreal line-up?

Not me, anyway.

En Rafale

– Well, wow.

– What do you think?

– Here’s a defenseman who’s getting a lot of attention in the NHL trade market.

– Olivier Renard’s comments.

– A beautiful goal.

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