The Athletic Support Podcast: About Arber Xhekaj and Kirby Dach and Development Timelines

On Monday’s episode of The Athletic Support Canadiens podcast, Arpon Basu and Marc Antoine Godin delves into the news of Arber Xhekaj’s apparent shoulder injury, sustained in a fight with Vincent Desharnais against the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday.

Xhekaj could join a list of Canadiens rookies whose positive development has been halted by serious injuries that already includes Kaiden Guhle and Juraj Slafkovský. Arpon and Marc Antoine address where they and coach Martin St. Louis have seen Xhekaj’s biggest growth this season and a fun anecdote about why he had to learn to box in front of the net this season.

While Xhekaj’s development seems to be progressing at the speed of light, it took Kirby Dach a little longer. But his game has reached a new level since the Canadians returned from their holiday trip in early January and it’s just time for him to play his former club, the Chicago Blackhawks, at home on Tuesday.

Leading Canadians since January 1st

It could easily be argued that Dach has been the Canadians’ best forward for the last few months or so and all it took was a little patience from him to respect the process and from the Canadians to allow him to go through this process. The Blackhawks probably could have used a little more patience, too.

Arpon and Marc Antoine then discuss the Canadians’ urgency to get Sean Monahan and Joel Edmundson back on the lineup so they can get back into the conversation about the trade deadline, something they eventually agreed on – after a little debate – had to happen by February 21 in New Jersey. They also discussed the possibility of selling the contract of Jake Allen and maybe even Paul Byron to a team looking for the extra flexibility a player on the long-term injured reserve could offer.

Finally, they answered two voicemails on the same subject, challenging their claim from last week that the Canadians are reluctant to call up smaller forwards, especially since they did so with Filip Mešár last year.

Listen to the full episode here: The Athletic Support Podcast Episode 218

(Photo by Arber Xhekaj and Connor McDavid: Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) The Athletic Support Podcast: About Arber Xhekaj and Kirby Dach and Development Timelines

Russell Falcon

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