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Arber Xhekaj: the Habs have reportedly turned down an offer for a forward with “top-6 potential”.

In recent weeks, we’ve heard more and more about the idea of the Habs trading Arber Xhekaj. In fact, the talk (mostly) started last week, when Elliotte Friedman reported that the club had received offers for its defenseman, offers turned down by Kent Hughes.

Clearly, there are a lot of teams out there looking for the Sheriff, but the Tricolore isn’t willing to trade him, even though he spent some time in Laval recently (and will be left out tonight).

Obviously, it’s hard to have an opinion on the decision to keep him, given how little is known about the offers that have been made to the Habs’ GM for Xhekaj… but David Pagnotta had a little chat about the matter, and shed some light on one of those offers.

In fact, according to Pagnotta, the Habs were offered “a young NHL forward who is a former first-round pick and has top-6 potential”, but it wasn’t enough to convince the club to trade the young defenseman.

He won’t comment on the identity of the player (or the team that made the offer), but it gives you an idea of what’s been floating around.

Obviously, it’s just about impossible to know who the player was with such clues, but it seems to be a player in the Alex Newhook mold. We’re not talking about a future top-flight player, but a young player with the talent to develop into a top-6 player in the long term.

Which begs the question: would you trade Xhekaj for an Alex Newhook-type player?

What we do know, however, is that if such an offer has been turned down, it’s because the Tricolore holds Xhekaj in the highest esteem. They don’t want to trade him on the cheap, and they really want to hit the jackpot if they trade #72.

Because a prospect like that is probably worth more than a first-round pick, especially if we’re talking about a later-round pick. The player is a safer bet, especially since Kent Hughes said it himself: the club has too many choices and won’t be able to sign everyone, so they might as well go for slightly older prospects who are in the same age group as the current young core.

I really wonder how the file will evolve over the coming weeks and months, but clearly, there seems to be a lot of interest across the league for the Sheriff’s services, and the offers are interesting.

The question is whether a GM will finally crack the Habs… because with the congestion on the blue line and the lack of talented forwards in the organization, it’s an interesting offer when you think about it.

In gusts


– Kasimir Kaskisuo will defend the Rocket net today.

– Things are going well for the young Quebec defenseman.

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