See where Paul Bissonette ranks Arber Xhekaj among the NHL's brawlers

Published December 21, 2022 at 1:30 PM

Despite having only 32 games of NHL experience, Arber Xhekaj of the Montreal Canadiens has already built a solid reputation around the league.

The CH defenseman is a player with an absolutely unique profile. He's not afraid to throw the gloves at anyone, he plays very tough, he knows how to play hockey and he's capable of scoring goals. In fact, he is the CH defenseman with the most goals so far.

The man nicknamed "Wifi" has already taken on some of the league's most respected pugilists.

If there's one question that remains right now, it's how much of a fighter he is, and where he'd stand compared to other NHL big men this early in his career.

The guys from the ever-popular Spittin' Chicklets podcast, and particularly former NHL tough guy Paul Bissonette, weighed in on just that question on their latest episode.

"I'm really disappointed because Minnesota has already played its two games against Montreal and Ryan Reaves got traded there before the Habs played the Rangers twice in January. I thought we would have had a heavyweight fight between Ryan Reaves and Arber Xhekaj. That kid is so hungry, he reminds me of Kurtis MacDermid. I've never seen a player so hungry for fights and I think Xhekaj has the same mentality. Match after match, if someone challenges him, there's no way he's going to say no, regardless of the score of the match. His fight against Zack Kassian really put him on the map. I love Pat Maroon, but he clearly gave him a beating. It's hard to put him in the top-3 fighters in the league because he hasn't faced all the big names yet, but I think he's definitely a top-5 fighter." - Paul Bissonette


Those are solid compliments from Bissonette, who has never been afraid to say what he thinks out loud. According to him, Xhekaj would already be a top-5 player in the league, in his first career season and at only 21 years old, that's crazy!

From what the former NHL player has to say, we can see how respected he is already throughout the National League. What helps his reputation immensely is that Xhekaj is not a dirty player, he already knows the basics and the code of honor of the big men, which contributes to making him highly respected in the league.

Even if I personally don't like pre-arranged fights, I fully agree that Xhekaj adds a unique dimension to the young Canadiens' roster, as he is never afraid to defend his teammates, as we have seen him do several times since the beginning of the season.

December 21   |   229 answers
See where Paul Bissonette ranks Arber Xhekaj among the NHL's brawlers

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