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Arber Xhekaj vs. a top-6 forward: “you have to say yes”.
Credit: Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images
Right now, we know that the Habs are looking to add talent to their offensive top-6.

With free agents unlikely to be a factor this year for the Habs, there are only two ways to add talent to the club. The first? The draft, of course.

If Ivan Demidov is indeed available at No. 5, that’s a lot of talent to add to the prospect bank.

But the other way will be to use the organization’s numerous draft picks and/or many quality young defensemen to get your hands on a top-6 forward.

In an ideal world, this would be done without giving away Arber Xhekaj, Kaiden Guhle, Lane Hutson, Logan Mailloux or David Reinbacher. But sometimes, you have to give to get back.

Of the lot, Arber Xhekaj’s name circulates a lot. There’s no sign that the Habs are interested in trading him right now… but that hasn’t stopped teams from calling in the 514. The Flames, for example, have tried their luck, according to David Pagnotta.

In my opinion, if the Flames are serious, discussions should start with the ninth overall pick. That way, you can get your hands on a forward with top-6 potential with that pick.

Arber Xhekaj’s case was actually discussed on the Sortie de zone podcast recently.

And on this subject, journalist Richard Labbé believes that if the Habs receive an offer for a top-6 forward in exchange for WiFi, they should not only listen, they should say yes.

What’s interesting is that a few months ago, David Pagnotta said the Habs had turned down a forward with top-6 potential in return for Xhekaj’s services.

It’s worth mentioning that a top-6 forward is not the same thing as a forward with top-6 potential, but it still gives an idea of how the Habs see their young defenseman.

It’s worth mentioning that an Arber Xhekaj makes everyone in town fatter, has good hockey skills and is learning better and better how to handle the Montreal market.

The Habs don’t have a surplus of defensemen in that mold either.

However, I obviously agree that this doesn’t make him untouchable. If the Habs have the right offer – in the eyes of the Habs GM – on the table, they should consider sending the Sheriff elsewhere.

But I’m not convinced that the right offer will come. Not even close.

In bursts

– Jim Hiller is in L.A. to stay. He’s now a full-time coach, according to Kevin Weekes.

– Big respect for Matthew Tkachuk.

– To be continued.

– Yes.

– Who will make the most money next year? And in the future?

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