MAJOR: Young Defenseman to Be Traded Imminently and Arber Xhekaj's Fate With the Laval Rocket May Be Decided

Elias Edmonson
January 6, 2024  (10:33)

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Mattias Norlinder
Photo credit: Reddit

The surplus of defensemen is quite widespread within the Montreal Canadiens organization, and it also impacts the Laval Rocket.

It's a good problem to have, but it's still an issue that needs to be addressed by Kent Hughes, as it deprives good young defensemen of valuable minutes.

An Upcoming Trade for the Montreal Canadiens

Like the big club in Montreal, the Rocket currently has too many defensemen.
And of course, the limit of players who can dress each night limits playing opportunities for some, thus affecting their development.
The excellent Anthony Marcotte rarely ventures into this kind of speculation, so there must be something here.
The commentator for Rocket games on BPM Sports believes a trade could be imminent:
A trade in the air?

I wouldn't be surprised if a trade happens soon with the Rocket. We find ourselves again with 8 healthy defensemen, with always the possibility that another one from Montreal could join, maybe even for a 2-week conditioning stint. Gustav Lindstrom hasn't played since December 9. The Canadiens seem to fear losing him on waivers otherwise he would already be back with the Rocket.

Jean-François Houle would like to use Olivier Galipeau and Nicolas Beaudin more. For now, they prefer Mattias Norlinder who is not having a good season with only 2 points and a -19 in 21 games. Do they want to showcase him? It's possible. In Galipeau's case, here's someone who never hesitates to block shots and sacrifice for the team's cause. As for Beaudin, he just had his second participation in the Spengler Cup where he got a lot of ice time. I'd like to see him get a real chance, which he hasn't had yet this year.

Meanwhile, defensemen Miguel Tourigny, Noah Laaouan, and Christopher Ortiz are all waiting for a chance to prove themselves in the American League. None of them have been called up from Trois-Rivières yet, despite having agreements with the Laval Rocket. [...]

To be continued...

The recall of Arber Xhekaj by the Canadiens would change nothing, because another defenseman would obviously have to go to Laval (like Lindstrom), but it still needs to happen!
He's earned it!
It will be really interesting to see how all this will be resolved, but don't be surprised if Mattias Norlinder is eventually traded by Kent Hughes and Arber Xhekaj is eventually recalled to Montreal.
In any case, there's likely to be some movement soon among the Laval defensemen.
Norlinder, 23, has 2 points in 22 games this season with the Rocket, with a differential of -20. After the superb training camp he had, it's honestly a shame.
Credit: Rumeursdetransaction.com
MAJOR: Young Defenseman to Be Traded Imminently and Arber Xhekaj's Fate With the Laval Rocket May Be Decided

Would you trade Norlinder for a 6th round pick?

Yes26143.9 %
No33456.1 %
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