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NHL Notebook: Devils shutdown Jack Hughes with shoulder injury, as Coyotes do same with Travis Dermott and Canadiens sign Florian Xhekaj to entry-level deal

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Photo credit:Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
27 days ago
Here come the shutdowns.
With a week and a half before the regular season concludes, a few players’ offseasons have already started as New Jersey Devils star Jack Hughes and Arizona Coyotes defencemen Travis Dermott won’t play in either of their clubs’ remaining games.
In Hughes’s case, his Devils have four games remaining in the season. They sit six points back of a playoff spot and have virtually no chance at post-season play. The club announced Tuesday that Hughes’ season would be over and that he’d undergo shoulder surgery on Wednesday.
Hughes missed 11 games in January due to an upper-body injury suffered in a game where he crashed hard into the boards. Prior to the injury, he was having a great year scring 15 goals and 45 points in 32 games. Since he returned on Feb. 8th, he scored 12 goals and 29 points in 30 games, a noticeable dip in his production.
Dermott was injured in a Sunday night game against the San Jose Sharks when he was hit from behind, getting forced out of the game. ‘Yotes head coach André Tourigny said Dermott was likely out for the rest of the season, but with nothing to play for, there’s no need for the club to rush him back.
Playing in just 50 games this year due to injury, illness and a healthy scratch here and there, Dermott scored just two goals and seven points.
Tourigny also said that forward Nick Bjugstad, who the Oilers acquired last year in a trade at the deadline before he subsequently re-signed in the desert, wasn’t day-to-day with an injury, but that “it’s a little bit longer than that.”
For Bjugstad, however, there is some sense in him playing more games this year, as his 22 goals and 45 points on the season are close to career highs. His career high in goals came in his third year in the league, when he scored 24 in 2014-15, with his career high in points being in 2017-18 when he put up 49.

Habs sign Xhekaj

The Montreal Canadiens have signed forward Florian Xhekaj to a three-year entry level deal, the club announced Tuesday.
The younger brother of Habs defenceman Arber, Florian just wrapped up a season with the OHL’s Brantford Bulldogs in which he scored 34 goals and 65 points in 63 games. Drafted by the team in the fourth round of the 2023 draft, he’s slated to join the AHL’s Laval Rocket on an amateur tryout for the remainder of this season.
Arber, meanwhile, was also shutdown for the season by the Habs Tuesday, dealing with a left shoulder injury that will require surgery.
Here’s more on Florian, from Daily Faceoff’s Mike Gould:
Xhekaj went unselected in his first year of NHL Draft eligibility before joining the OHL’s Bulldogs for the 2022-23 season. The Hamilton, Ontario product racked up 25 points and 76 penalty minutes in 68 games in his first OHL campaign, leading the Canadiens to take him with their first of three fourth-round picks.
The Canadiens selected nine players in the 2023 NHL Draft. Xhekaj is the second member of that group to sign an entry-level contract with the club, joining No. 5 overall selection David Reinbacher.
Xhekaj will report to a Laval team that is firmly in the midst of a race for the fifth and final playoff spot in the AHL North Division. With just four games remaining in the season, the Rocket rank seventh in the division by points percentage but are within striking distance of both the Utica Comets and Belleville Senators.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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