Arber Xhekaj Shockingly Demoted By Canadiens After Coming Off Injured Reserve

Published December 4, 2023 at 6:52 PM

Canadiens fan favorite Arber Xhekaj got some unfortunate news today after the team activated him off injured reserve.

Xhekaj Sent Down To American Hockey League

The team activated the 22-year-old enforcer off injured reserve today and promptly assigned him to the Laval Rockets off the American Hockey League.

Believe it or not, this is actually Xhekaj's first stint in the AHL in his career. He played 51 games of pro hockey last season, all with the Canadiens in the NHL. Officially, the move has been listed as a loan, but it is unclear what the exact purposes of the designation are.

Multiple Theories Emerge Regarding Xhekaj's Demotion

One possibility is that the team is treating this like an unofficial conditioning stint. Given how little hockey he's played this year, even before the injury, this theory could make sense.

Arber Xhekaj was averaging only 13:38 mins per game in 8GP in November before his injury.

So maybe being sent down to the Laval Rocket to play some big mins shouldn't exactly come as a surprise.

Thanks to our friend @mndamico for pointing this out.

Another idea is that the team wants to take advantage of his waivers exempt status to maintain roster flexibility in the short-term.

I'm not sure of any benefits to sending Arber Xhekaj down rather than a conditioning stint other than this is more flexible and doesn't require him to be called up before they deem him ready.

It could also be he's not technically eligible because he has not even been out a month

One former Canadiens player believes the move is for a different reason. Former Canadiens enforcer Georges Laraque believes that the 22-year-old may be on the outs in Montreal as he does not fit Martin St. Louis' system.

It seems then that there is a shocking amount of mystery surrounding this story. Could Xhekaj be on his way out of Montreal? It might seem like a silly move given how beloved he is by the fan base, but clearly his results this season have not been great. The 22-year-old still has plenty of time to develop though so it may be a bit foolish to give up on him so soon.

As seen on Terrible News Confirmed For Enforcer Arber Xhekaj
December 4   |   13 answers
Arber Xhekaj Shockingly Demoted By Canadiens After Coming Off Injured Reserve

Is this demotion deserved?

Yes, he needs to be better430.8 %
No, but it will be good for him646.2 %
No, he should be in the NHL323.1 %
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