Prospect Ramblings: Johnston & Johnson sniping; Blanks and WiFi laying the body; Brannstrom, Valimaki, Tarasov

Ben Gehrels

2022-10-26

Arber Xhekaj (MON) and Nick Blankenburg (CBJ), two of Twitter’s favourite rookie defencemen of late, have had a noticeable early impact on their respective teams. Both offer limited scoring but solid peripherals: Blankenburg has 10 hits in four games, while Xhekaj is currently tied for fifth in the league for hits with 26 alongside noted beast Tanner Jeannot (NAS) but with one fewer game played. The Canadiens defenceman—dubbed “WiFi” because his last name resembles a router password—has also contributed 13 penalty minutes in those six games. 

I’m personally not a fan of fighting in hockey at all but as far as fights go, this one has a pretty clear outcome.

https://twitter.com/scottmatla/status/1583239760503771136?s=46&t=lv-CsfMe7hJDMAQugPTuEg
https://twitter.com/hadik_scouting/status/1583247348246843392?s=46&t=lv-CsfMe7hJDMAQugPTuEg

What kind of offensive output could we expect from Xhekaj on top of these excellent peripherals? The universe has ordained that he will finish with exactly 17 points—six goals and 11 assists.

https://twitter.com/nmercad/status/1583844493341904896?s=46&t=DS-zNubVFpPcYoYeP-qSlQ

Whereas Xhekaj is a monster at 6-4, 238lbs—perhaps one of the biggest players in the league—Blankenburg stands at 5-9, 177lbs. But do not let the smaller package fool you. This guy can hit like a train.

https://twitter.com/espnplus/status/1582515878280589312?s=46&t=lv-CsfMe7hJDMAQugPTuEg

He can also