Today Arber Xhekaj
was sent down to the AHL in a puzzling move. Now we have an explanation as to why the move ended up being made.
Major Confrontation Between Xhekaj And Coach Leads To Demotion
According to one source a confrontation between Arber Xhekaj
and head coach Martin St. Louis is partially to blame. The source says that Xhekaj was playing too aggressively and got ripped into by St. Louis. Since this time Xhekaj's play has taken a significant step back.
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
This move has called the future of Arber Xhekaj
into question. The 22-year-old will have a lot to prove heading down to the AHL.
The Future Becomes Murky For Xhekaj In Montreal
With this demotion, it will mark the first time that Xhekaj will spend in the AHL. Many fans and media have wanted Xhekaj to get some AHL experience at some point. With the main concern from the Montreal staff being Xhekaj's aggressiveness where does that leave his future with the team?
Xhekaj is an aggressive, physically involved player on the ice. This is what the entire foundation of his game relies on. His offensive tools are at a minimum at the NHL level. With this demotion, Xhekaj could have an opportunity to develop that side of the game. If he doesn't though he largely remains a player who relies on aggressiveness and physicality.
With other defensemen making their way up through the pipeline it could be difficult for Arber Xhekaj
to find his way back up. If he struggles to find his game at the AHL level again a change of scenery could be in order. Plenty of teams would be willing to pay for a young physical presence on the blue line.