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Arber Xhekaj would like his chance in the shootout
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot

Arber Xhekaj’s overall game has improved in recent matches. He still takes some questionable penalties, but he seems to be getting more and more involved in his work.

Despite some defensive shortcomings, Xhekaj is getting more playing time with the Montreal Canadiens, and fans are enjoying seeing him in action.

Today was the Habs skills competition, and the tough guy stole the show with not only a 107.2 mph shot, but also a beautiful goal, as he literally put his Sunday hands up.

Incidentally, his 107.2 mph slap shot makes him the third most powerful shot in NHL history.

Only Zdeno Chara and Shea Weber are ahead of him, all of whom recorded more powerful shots in the NHL Skills Competition. Chara has the highest mark at 108.8 mph, while Weber has three shots that are faster than Xhekaj’s (107.8, 108.1 and 108.5).

I have to say that I’m not surprisedat all. The fact that he’s already recorded a wrist shot from the blue line in the middle of a game at over 100 miles per hour, I’d expect nothing less from him.

Following this powerful slap shot was the breakaway contest, where Xhekaj stood out with a breathtaking feint.

After a fun-filled day, Xhekaj revealed that he’d love to get his chance in the shootout.

“I’m very confident in my jump shots. I tell Burrows all the time that he needs to give me the chance, but I don’t know, we haven’t really had the opportunity – we have a lot of really good shooters.” – Arber Xhekaj

I’d be the first to like to see him in a shootout during a game. It seems to me that many would be surprised to send Xhekaj after giving Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield the chance.

Xhekaj has the tools to be a successful shootout player. He has a very powerful shot and, as he showed us, he also has very good hands. It remains to be seen whether Alex Burrows will finally give him his chance this season.


Eric Champoux, on BPM Sports, revealed in an interview with Max Lalonde that Xhekaj is a class act. When he was fired by Laval at the start of the season, he apologized to Champoux, founder of La Chambre microbrewery. You have to do it. [H&L]

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