Skip to content
Arber Xhekaj: 16:36 of ice time that felt like 25 minutes
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot
Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield or Juraj Slafkovsky.

By naming these three, chances are I’ve named your favorite Montreal Canadiens player of the moment.

However, I could very well add a fourth name to this list, that of Arber Xhekaj.

Indeed, the Habs defenseman is clearly a crowd favorite and surely the favorite player of many Tricolore fans.

The Montreal public instantly fell in love with Xhekaj last season, given his style of play and the respect he instils when he’s on the ice.

However, the fans who adore and revere Xhekaj were worried this season that the number 72 was no longer the same and that he had been misrepresented by the Habs.

Indeed, on his return to Montreal after a stint with the Rocket in Laval, Xhekaj seemed to think too much on the ice to be cautious and disciplined.

He really wasn’t recognizable at all, which greatly worried Arber’s fervent supporters.

Fortunately, over the past few games(including the one in Florida), we’ve seen the real Xhekaj again: a physical player who’ll do anything to earn respect on the ice by defending his teammates, and who knows how to play hockey.

Xhekaj doesn’t just know how to fight, he knows how to play.

Last night, Xhekaj probably played one of his best games of the season.

Why do I say that?

Because the Habs defenseman was literally all over the ice every time he appeared.

Every time a scrum broke out between the two teams, Xhekaj was there to manage the situation and take care of the Lightning players.

I’m telling you, Xhekaj was so always involved in what was happening on the ice, I jumped when I saw he’d only been on the ice for 16 minutes and 36 seconds.

To me, the Habs’ number 72 had played at least 25.

Well, that’s Arber Xhekaj.

A defenseman who makes his presence felt every time he’s on the ice, whether it’s with big checks, a tussle with one (or more) opponents or a powerful shot.

The Habs defenseman didn’t win the most powerful shot of the Habs Skills Competition with a 107.2 mph shot for nothing

Xhekaj is even able to contribute offensively, as evidenced by his assist on Josh Anderson’s goal last night.

In short, things have really picked up for the Habs’ number 72 since he was recalled from Laval, where he’s unlikely to return any time soon.

Xhekaj’s excellent performances also coincide with the fact that he has been paired with David Savard.

The veteran defenseman really seems to be helping Xhekaj play excellent, reliable and steady hockey.

This shows once again how important Savard is to the team, and that trading him would be a big risk.

Seeing Savard help Xhekaj play as well as he is right now could make management all the more reluctant to part with the Quebec defenseman between now and the trade deadline next Friday.

Stay tuned.

In Burst

– Read more.

– For those who hadn’t seen it.

– The Sabres have as many regulation time wins as the Maple Leafs.

– That’s a good one.

– Coming up.

More Content