Another 6-foot-4 Xhekaj Signs With Canadiens—Arber's Younger Brother

It appears that one 6-foot-4 Xhekaj brother wasn't enough for the Montreal Canadiens. Just hours after announcing that 23-year-old defenceman Arber Xhekaj would be undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery, the Habs revealed that his younger brother Florian—also 6-foot-4, but a winger—had signed an entry-level deal as well as a PTO with Laval of the AHL.

The three-year ELC runs through the 2026-27 season for the 19-year-old, and he'll now join the Canadiens' AHL affiliate the Laval Rocket for the remaining four regular-season games of their season, and any potential playoff action if they qualify. 

According to TSN hockey insider Darren Dreger, "the Canadiens absolutely love this guy, they see nothing but tremendous upside." This was certainly demonstrated by the huge jump the younger Xhekaj took this season. 

In his second year in the OHL, he broke out big-time with the Brantford Bulldogs, scoring 34 goals with 65 points in 63 games as well as posting a +17 rating, compared to his previous season in which he managed only 25 points and a -17 rating.

The Habs selected the 19-year-old Xhekaj in the fourth round of the 2023 NHL entry draft after he went undrafted the year before. 

The Canadiens will miss the Stanley Cup playoffs for the third straight season, sitting 15th in the Eastern Conference with a 29-36-12 record.