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“Is there anyone who thinks Xhekaj is untouchable?” – Tony Marinaro
Credit: Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

For several years now, the Montreal Canadiens haven’t really had very physical players.

Georges Laraque and George Parros were the club’s last two strongmen, but since the arrival of Arber Xhekaj, the players feel more protected (and rightly so).

Xhekaj is much more than just a goon, but he’s not afraid of anyone, and that reassures his teammates.

With a Michael Pezzetta, who I’d describe as more of an agitator, the players are safer, but when these two players aren’t in the line-up, the team gets shaken up.

There are plenty of players like Pezzetta, but guys like Xhekaj are hard to come by.

He has a great skating stroke for his enormous size, a very powerful shot and he checks anyone who dares to pass him.

And that’s not to mention all the victims he’s claimed in his fights.

It makes you wonder if the Habs’ #72 is untouchable.

And that’s exactly what Georges Laraque asked on BPM Sports’ Laraque et Gonzalez show today.

Tony Marinaro was present and the former NHL terror asked for his opinion.

His answer came as something of a shock to Laraque.

“For the right price, I’ll let him go. Who thinks Xhekaj is untouchable? Is there anyone in the world who thinks Xhekaj is untouchable? – Tony Marinaro

Georges didn’t hesitate for a second to defend his point of view, saying that he wouldn’t trade it.

As Marinaro said afterwards, there’s a difference between not wanting to trade him and saying he’s untouchable.

I invite you to listen to the extract, right here.

It’s a bit hard to say on this subject, as Xhekaj’s sample isn’t very big, but I have to agree with Marinaro on this one.

I love Xhekaj and I wouldn’t trade him, but for the right price I’d let him go, that’s for sure.

A player like him is rare, but he can’t be an untouchable. He won’t score 70 points in a season, and he’s not the type of defender who excels in his zone.

It’s something you have to work at, but he too often gets out of position and takes too many unnecessary penalties, even though he’s improved since his stint with the Laval Rocket.

He needs to find the right balance between wanting to smash his opponent and staying out of his own zone. Knowing when to check can go a long way to determining his usefulness to the team.

Would a late first-round pick be enough to let Xhekaj go, in your opinion?

Breaking news

Sunrise is shaking things up.

– It’s hard not to side with the Bruins on this one.

– There can’t be many people surprised.

– It’s done!

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