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Arber Xhekaj is currently a fragile player.
When he was traded to Laval, Arber Xhekaj was disappointed at first, but he soon got to work.

And by the end of his time there, he was one of the team’s best defensemen, maybe even one of the best, period. Jean-François Houle was using him in every possible way, and that made him smile.

Since he’s been in Montreal, it’s been a bit more difficult, though. He seems to be a fragile player. Xhekaj was one of the topics of discussion on Tony Marinaro’s Sick Podcast .

Guest Mike Johnson and Marinaro agree that the defender is fragile, that he walks on eggshells.

One of the main reasons: the apologies he offered his coaches. Let’s not forget that after the bad penalties he took on Thursday against the Islanders, he went to apologize to the coaches. He was still left out for the next game.

But Johnson doesn’t understand why the youngster apologized. According to him, it’s proof that a player is fragile and “tries too hard”.

He gave the examples of Cole Caufield and Jake Allen. “When Caufield misses a scoring chance, does he apologize? When Jake Allen misses an ugly goal, does he apologize?” The answer is no. In the NHL, mistakes happen.

In any case, if there’s one guy on the team who should take advantage of the All-Star break, it’s Xhekaj. As Eric Engels points out in a text, this is the ideal week to recharge the batteries.

During the show, the host wondered, in connection with Martin St-Louis’s public outing, whether the left-hander is taking up too much space in the dressing room. After all, it’s rare for guys of Xhekaj’s caliber to be publicized in this way. Burgers with his name on them, lots of texts talking about him in the metropolis-usually, these kinds of “privileges” are reserved for the stars, aren’t they?

We shouldn’t give up on him, but Johnson explains that you can’t survive in the big league (in 2024) just by knowing how to fight. The Habs, quite rightly, simply want to help him become a more complete player. For Simon Boisvert, the situation is clear: if he can receive a first-round pick (10th, for example), he would. After all, Xhekaj wasn’t drafted, and it would be an excellent transaction to maximize the value of the squad.

But if no team has an offer, he’d keep him on one condition: make him an occasional player to exploit his strengths. Because he has strengths, and he’ s a one-of-a-kind player. As mentioned on the second episode of the Processus podcast, he would do the same with Lane Hutson. Remember that the Snake sees Hutson as a power play specialist, that’s it.

Boisvert even talked about a formula of 10 forwards and eight defensemen to keep the two defensemen in Montreal. He’d go with three forwards.

In short, Xhekaj is very fragile right now. Hopefully, the break will do him good and he’ll get back to being the Xhekaj he was at the start of the season.

In bursts

– It’s true.

– Michael McNiven gets a job.

– Heavy loss.

– I’m not surprised.

– Well said.

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