Kent Hughes: Montreal Canadiens to trade their star defenseman Arber Xhekaj on one condition

With General Manager Kent Hughes intending to utilize the team’s vast prospect pool, especially in defense, to improve the front lines, the Montreal Canadiens are ready for a busy summer. Arber Xhekaŏj is a name that has consistently come up in trade conversations.

Arber Xhekaj is a vital component of Montreal’s ambitions even though he is nearing the end of his three-year, $2,485,000 contract, and general manager Ken Hughes has showed little interest in moving him.

The Calgary Flames have shown interest in Xhekaj, according to David Pagnotta from The Fourth Period, but only a very compelling offer might persuade the Canadiens to let him go.Ώ

We are aware that Arber Xhekaj is essentially off the table for the Habs. Teams, including the Calgary Flames, have been inquiring about Hughes, as I mentioned last week, but Hughes isn’t interested in leaving. For the time being, though, Xhekaj is a part of Montreal’s future ambitions. I’m sure he’ll alter his mind if someone is willing to truly overpay,” Pagnotta said.

The focus now is on Montreal’s approach to filling the void left by Nick Suzuki as the team’s top center. Next season, Kirby Dach should be able to hold down the position as second-line center, with Alex Newhook maybe moving to the wing or taking over as third-line center. Despite selecting centermen in the last two NHL drafts, this change suggests that the Canadiens might not be in the market for another center.

The Montreal Canadiens are expected to be involved in the 2017 NHL Draft, which is set for June 28–29 at The Sphere in Las Vegas.

Cayden Lindstrom is rated highly by Montreal’s selection board despite being ranked third among skaters in North America by NHL Central Scouting. Lindstrom might be a valuable addition if he is available with the fifth overall pick. If he isn’t, though, Hughes might think about dealing the choice, which could have a big impact on the team’s game plan.

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Calgary Flames

Montreal Canadiens targeting multiple forwards

While the Montreal Canadiens are looking into ways to bolster their forward lines, Kent Hughes has made it apparent that certain players are off-limits. It’s unlikely that Arber Xhekaj, Kaiden Guhle, Lane Hutson, Logan Mailloux, and David Reinbacher will be traded absent a spectacular transaction.

Other defenseman, such as Mattias Norlinder, Justin Barron, Jordan Harris, Jayden Struble, and Adam Engstrom, might be utilized as trade assets. The Canadiens would rather hold onto these players, but they understand they might have to give up some in order to get the talented right-forward.

In trail rumors, a number of forwards have been connected to the Canadians.Trevor Zŏegras of Anaheim, who is purportedly looking to relocate from Orange County, would be a top contender.Despite injury worries, Josh Norris of Ottawa has also been brought up, though a trade between the two division rivals doesn’t seem imminent.

Minnesota’s Marcáo Rossi and Cole Silliger and Kent Johnson of Columbus are two more possible targets that fit with Montreaŏlŏ’s plan to acquire young, skilled forwards.Ώ

Furthermore, it seems probable that the Montreal Canadiens will shop Joel Armœia, David Savard, and Christian Dvorak this summer. Since all three have expiring contracts, they may be included in bigger trade packages or utilized to clear up cap space. The Canadiens have the flexibility to make big moves thanks to their vast cap space.

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