Photo Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
The Canadiens have not confirmed the extent of the Arber Xhekaj injury or what kind of treatment he may require.
— Montreal Gazette (@mtlgazette) February 14, 2023
Arber Xhekaj Injured
Xhekaj’s injury occurred Sunday in the Canadiens’ 6-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers. He had nine penalty minutes in the game including a fight against Vincent Desharnais. On his way off the ice following the fight he held his right arm awkwardly away from his body. Xhekaj did not return to the game and missed Tuesday’s morning skate before the Canadiens officially announced his injury.
He has 13 points in 51 games, including five goals which lead all Canadiens defenders. Xhekaj leads Montreal in hits with 159, putting him in the top 10 League-wide in that category. He is also number two overall in fighting majors this year with nine.
Xhekaj, 22, was not drafted during his eligibility window in 2020 or 2021. He signed with Montreal as a free agent in October 2021 following an invitation to its training camp. After signing, he returned to the OHL for a fourth season and did not spend any time in the AHL. He made his NHL debut on October 12, 2022.
Canadiens’ Options With Arber Xhekaj Injured
According to Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports, Chris Wideman returned to the Canadiens’ lineup in place of Xhekaj against the Chicago Blackhawks. The 33-year-old veteran had played in 30 prior games for Montreal and recorded four assists. He had last played on January 31 against Ottawa, playing only nine shifts for 6:42 of ice time.
Wideman is the oldest defenseman on the Canadiens’ roster, followed by David Savard, who has played over 700 games in the NHL at 32 years old. Joel Edmundson, a 455-game veteran and one of the Canadiens’ alternate captains, has not played since January 26; Johnathan Kovacevic has filled his spot.
The Canadiens have not recalled any players from the Laval Rocket at this time.