Arber Xhekaj's Future In Question After Disagreement With Martin St Louis Emerges

Published December 4, 2023 at 6:47 PM

There is no doubt that Arber Xhekaj is one of the more popular players on the Montreal Canadiens. Ever since his emergence last season he became an instant fan favorite with his nickname and willingness to punch other players in the face. The novelty may be wearing off though and now his future with the organization is in question.

Xhekaj Demoted To American Hockey League

Fans first became worried when they learned that the 22-year-old defenseman had been sent to the Laval Rockets of the AHL following his reinstatement from the injured list.

At first, the move seemed like a normal conditioning stint, but a closer look reveals that that is not the case.

Conditioning stint is usually when a player has been out for 6 months (like Price and Gally in 2021).

It is not used for when a player has missed 2 weeks of play for a minor injury. Xhekaj was demoted.

(who are accredited with the Habs), have confirmed as well.

Disagreement With Head Coach Could Explain Xhekaj Demotion

Apparently, Canadiens head coach Martin St. Louis laid into the 22-year-old earlier this season for reckless play prior to his injury. Some fans have pointed to this disconnect between the enforcer and coach to explain his sudden demotion.

Former Habs enforcer Georges Laraque believes that Xhekaj may even be on his way out of Montreal altogether before the end of the season.

Interesting story from @GeorgesLaraque: he says MSL apparently ripped into Xhekaj after an L for being too aggressive and since then, Xhekaj has changed his game out of fear of being left out

He then says that he wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't finish the year in Montreal 🤯

Being too aggressive is certainly a valid criticism of Xhekaj's game. He has been among the worst players in the league in terms of penalty differential since he made his debut last season. Is it enough to justify sending him down to the AHL? Perhaps. Is it enough to justify trading the 22-year-old? That is an entirely different question. The Canadiens are obviously still a rebuilding team. They can use just about every young, cost controlled player they can get their hands on.

As seen on Major: Disturbing Scene as Martin St-Louis Loses His Temper Towards Arber Xhekaj
December 4   |   478 answers
Arber Xhekaj's Future In Question After Disagreement With Martin St Louis Emerges

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