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Mathias Brunet: Arber Xhekaj still worth a (good) first-round pick
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot

Over the years, we’ve come to understand what Arber Xhekaj can bring to Martin St-Louis’ line-up.

Of course, we’re talking about a tough defenseman who’s not afraid to throw down the gloves and loves to use his body to upset the opposition…

But you know as well as I do that we’re also talking about a defender who has certain defensive shortcomings in his game.

It’s especially his toughness that is interesting for the Habs, because there are no other players like him in Martin St-Louis’ line-up.

Michael Pezzetta fights once in a while, but he’s not necessarily seen as a mean player on the ice.

Xhekaj, for example, commands respect because the Canadiens’ opponents know he can be dangerous with his fists.

Talk to Zack Kassian.

Mathias Brunet and Simon Boisvert discussed Xhekaj’s current performance with the Habs on the recent episode of the “Process” podcast, and in passing, the La Presse journalist reminded us that the defenseman has a nice value on the trade market.

In fact, Mathias Brunet refers to him as a player who’s worth a “good” first-round pick… And that’s when the Snake said that if all that is true, the Habs owe it to themselves to trade the defenseman :

If Xhekaj is worth a pick like #13, go ahead and jump on it! That’s asset management for you. – Simon Boisvert

Sure, for a #13… It’s getting interesting. – Mathias Brunet

This is an interesting discussion because the Habs have some nice depth on the blue line.

Especially on the left…

We know that Kent Hughes is a guy who loves to maximize his assets and it would be easy to do that with Xhekaj because he’s never been drafted in the National League.

But we also know that the Montreal organization loves its young player, even though Hughes reportedly turned down an offer for a forward with top-6 potential in return for the Sheriff

I think it’s far too early to imagine a deal for Xhekaj. The Habs have some good left-handed defensemen in the organization, and there’s no one who can dismiss that fact from the discussion.

But the Habs also have some good left-handed defensemen in the organization who haven’t necessarily proven much in the NHL, aside from Kaiden Guhle (and Mike Matheson).

Trading Xhekaj is a nice idea, but in my opinion, Kent Hughes will also have to evaluate the assets he has on hand before making such an important decision.

In gusto

– Colin White is on the waivers.

– Excellent point.

– Pierre LeBrun’s texts are always interesting.

– Nice moment.

– Nothing new, basically.

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