Arber Xhekaj's brother Florian makes a massive statement ahead of next season

Elias Adaime
July 7, 2024  (1:09)

Photo of Florian ans Arber Xhekaj
Photo credit: NHL

In 2021, Arber Xhekaj, who had been invited to the Canadiens' camp, surprised everyone by earning an entry-level NHL contract and playing with the big club.

Next fall, it will be his younger brother Florian's turn to try to make his mark with the big club.
Armed with his NHL entry-level contract signed last April, the youngest Xhekaj will show up, according to his words, with only one goal in mind at the next training camp.
That is not to return to the Brantford Bulldogs of the OHL.

Florian Xhekaj with the Canadiens as soon as next season?

TVA Sports - « J'ai la confiance pour jouer avec les Canadiens cette année » : Florian Xhekaj se dit prêt pour la LNH
«I don't want to go back to Brantford, so I see myself in Montreal or Laval, but I have the confidence to play with the Canadiens this year» - Florian Xhekaj

19-year-old Florian had an offensive explosion with Brantford last year. He finished the campaign with 65 points, including 34 goals, in 63 games. It's a huge leap for him, as he had finished his rookie season in the OHL with 25 points in 68 games. The young man's progress was greatly noticed by the Canadiens, as player development director Rob Ramage recalls.
«He had a very good season last year. He started on the wing and moved to center and took off. He's sturdy at 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, but he won't be as big as his brother, who is like a truck at 240 pounds» - Rob Ramage

According to Florian, the experience he gained during his stint with the Laval Rocket last season will be beneficial. Even though it was only for three games, he says he learned a lot of things that will be useful for the future.
«It was very beneficial for me,» acknowledges the young man. «I played with older guys, it was different, everyone is bigger, stronger, older, and has been playing longer.»

«I absorbed as much as I could from those games and tried to apply them to my game to be ready, no matter where I play next season.» - Florian Xhekaj

We will certainly remember the comments made by Nick Bobrov during a pre-draft meeting in 2023. The Canadiens' co-director of amateur scouting was very complimentary towards the young forward, saying he is a unicorn, a player capable of doing everything on the ice.
«(Florian) Xhekaj is a unicorn. Personally, I would like to come out of the draft with this guy with us.» - Nick Bobrov

See around the 13-minute mark in the video below:

In a recent appearance on BPM Sports, prospect expert Martin Therriault gave his opinion on Florian. His view may not please many, including Florian himself...
«It's clear that it's not obvious. I think it depends on what we see in terms of offensive ceiling for Florian Xhekaj. If we think he has the chance to play one day in a top-6 or top-9 and we want him to work on his offense, I think a season at 20 years old in the OHL would be good.» - Martin Therriault

However, it should be mentioned that Therriault would send the young Xhekaj to Laval next season. He doesn't think Florian will be a top-6 player but rather a third- or fourth-line player. In that case, working on his offense would not be a priority, and he could go to the Rocket in a fourth-line role.
It all depends on the organization's vision for him. It will be interesting to see what the management plans with the young man...
Arber Xhekaj's brother Florian makes a massive statement ahead of next season

Where will Florian Xhekaj play in the 2024-2025 season?

Montreal Canadiens12715.7 %
Laval Rocket60875.2 %
Brantford Bulldogs739 %
Latest 10 stories