HabsWorld.net -- 

There was good news and bad news on Tuesday when it came to the Xhekaj brothers.  The good news was for Florian as the Habs announced that they’ve signed him to a three-year, entry-level deal while the bad news is that Arber is set to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery on Wednesday.

Florian was a fourth-round pick by the Habs last June, going 101st overall.  With pedestrian offensive numbers and the fact he went unpicked in his first year of eligibility, the selection seemed like a bit of a reach at the time.

However, in the post-draft behind the scenes video that was released after the draft, lead scout Nick Bobrov called Xhekaj a ‘unicorn’, feeling there was much more to come development-wise.  That turned out to be the case as the 19-year-old put up 34 goals and 31 assists in 63 games with OHL Brantford this season, a year after posting just 13 goals and 12 helpers in 68 contests.

Brantford was eliminated from the playoffs over the weekend which allows Xhekaj to join Laval for the stretch run.  He’ll do so on an ATO agreement while his contract will begin in 2024-25.  He could still return for one more season of major junior but will be eligible to play full-time with the Rocket next year.

As for Arber, he suffered the injury late in Thursday’s loss to Tampa Bay and didn’t play over the weekend.  While there was no firm timeline for a return given, the team indicated that they expect he will be fully ready for training camp in the fall.

His sophomore campaign ends with three goals and seven assists in 44 games along with 81 penalty minutes and 125 hits.  He also had a seven-week stretch in Laval where he had 11 points in 17 appearances.  A restricted free agent this summer, there’s a good chance that Xhekaj will wind up with a bridge deal for his next contract.

The biggest loser with this news might be Laval as it means that Jayden Struble won’t be sent down for a while yet while Justin Barron will have to stay a bit longer as well.  Kaiden Guhle skated today but in a non-contact jersey so he won’t be available against Philadelphia so the emergency conditions that Barron was brought up on still exist.

There was also some good news on the injury front as Christian Dvorak was cleared to return and will play tonight.  Originally ruled out for the season in January due to a torn pectoral muscle, he healed a little quicker than expected, allowing him to get a few games in before the offseason.