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Florian Xhekaj to make his Rocket debut tonight
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot

It’s been a few days now since Florian Xhekaj signed his entry-level contract with the Canadiens. The prospect, who is of course Arber’s brother, saw his junior season come to an end recently and joined the Laval Rocket to finish the year.

We wondered if he’d play a game with the Rocket before the end of the season, but now it’s confirmed: he’ll be in action tonight.

He’ll be taking the place of the injured Mitchell Stephens.

Obviously, we’ll have to see how Jean-François Houle juggles his lineup for the occasion, but no matter where he’s used, Xhekaj will be in uniform tonight.

At least one Xhekaj will be playing for a Habs organization tonight.

It’s a great story for the family, of course, but Xhekaj won’t have time to be a mere passenger: the Rocket needs a minor miracle to have any hope of making the playoffs, and they can’t afford to miss any games.

In fact, the club could be outright eliminated today: if it loses its game in Columbus and the Belleville Senators win against the Rochester Americans, Laval’s playoff hopes will be officially destroyed.

They’re already (really) not strong, but there’s still a small chance right now.

Losing Stephens will hurt the Rocket considering he’s a good veteran and a solid offensive contributor (34 points in 48 games), but at least it’ll give Xhekaj a chance to show what he’s got.

And for what it’s worth, when a Xhekaj played in Laval earlier this season, it still offered good results…


When he arrived in Laval, Florian noted that Arber had told him to make sure he listened to his coaches and team-mates in order to improve.

In the end, all he had to do was listen for three days before playing his first game.

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