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Montreal Canadiens

Canadiens Prospects Who Seized The Opportunity In Buffalo



Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens prospects performed admirably during the Prospect Challenge in Buffalo, with a handful of players using this tournament to increase their stock within the Canadiens organization.

The Canadiens prospects played three fast-paced and physical games during the Prospect Challenge in Buffalo, facing the Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils and Ottawa Senators respectively, during the friendly tournament. There were some players who were more mature and experienced, whom you expected to stand out, like Justin Barron, Kaiden Guhle and Jordan Harris, amongst others.

However, the players below took the opportunity the tournament provides to impress fans and management alike and improve their standing within the organization moving forward:

Owen Beck

Owen Beck was one of the most consistent players in the entire tournament. He showed exceptional two-way ability, playing very low in the defensive zone to help his teammates get the puck out, all while being a menace to the opposition when they had possession of the puck. Beck’s offensive abilities were on full display this time around, as he was able to show off his soft hands, deceptively good shot and surprisingly effective puck protection skills to create some highlight reel plays.

For a player who wants to be known as more than a defensive centre, Beck achieved his mission of changing the narrative and gaining the favour of Canadiens fans through his unwavering effort and his impressive speed. He developpe chemistry with basically anyone he played with during the tournament, and was always at the route of a scoring chance or intelligent play in the neutral zone. With his performances over the last couple of days, perhaps the Canadiens offer him a pre-season game to see what he can do against men? He’s certainly earned it.

Filip Mesar

Filip Mesar didn’t have the hype of his best buddy, Juraj Slafkovsky, but he quickly showed that he is not to be overlooked when it comes to the future of this organization. Right from the first puck drop against the Sabres prospects, MEsar was everywhere on the ice at all times. His speed and slippery play along the boards or in-tight made him stand out right away; as he was able to protect the puck very well and allude coverage by using his wits and skill.

He was tried in the tournament at both centre and wing, and, if truth be told, he was more impressive as a centre. He was able to cover more ice and touch the puck more often as a centre, allowing him to make more use of his great vision and quick touches to the puck. He was able to transport the puck much more as a centre, which helped him show off his impressive transition skills. Despite being on the smaller side (5’10, 167lbs), Mesar wasn’t afraid to go into the dirty areas and attack the middle of the ice; he played a smart and effective game and could be complicating plans for the Canadiens, who were reportedly considering sending him to the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL after camp.

Perhaps more viewings are now necessary to see if the OHL is the best option for the young man.


Emil Heineman

Emil Heineman was on display for the first time since being acquired by the Montreal Canadiens in the Tyler Toffoli trade. The 20-year-old didn’t miss a beat in this tournament, looking sharp on the rush and showing his devastating shot at every chance he got. Heineman has always been described as a physical, shoot-first winger with good straight-line speed, however, we saw a more developed passing game during this tournament and some intelligent plays along the boards that resulted in key scoring chances.

Although Heineman is likely headed back to Leksands of the SHL after the Canadiens training camp, he’s certainly shown off the qualities that made the Canadiens consider him as a prospect of value in such a big-time trade with the Calgary Flames. The hope is that he will continue to refine and diversify his offensive game when he comes over to North America full-time next season.


Xavier Simoneau

The smallest player on the ice was often times the most notable player on the ice. Xavier Simoneau came to prove that he isn’t about to get lost in the shuffle this fall and will make a place for himself when all is said and done. The 2021 6th round pick was a waterbug for the Montreal Canadiens, constantly around the puck and bringing it to the net. He may only have scored two goals in the three games he played in, but he could have had much more with a little bit of luck.

He was fearless in the corners, showed deceptively good speed on the rush and made it a habit of sneaking up out of nowhere to take advantage of a loose puck and make a play. Simoneau takes every inch of what is given to him and maximizes it into the best possible play almost every shift and seems primed to show his future coach, JF- Houle, that he’ll be a prime player to watch for with the Laval Rocket this season.

William Trudeau

William Trudeau was the most offensively involved defenceman during the tournament for the Montreal Canadiens. You would normally have assumed that Mattias Norlinder, who is older and more experienced would be the one driving the offence from the backend in this tournament, but it was Trudeau who actively joined the rush and made key plays in the offensive zone for goals.

Trudeau was also not shy to use the body and was routinely crushing people along the boards to separate them from the puck and start the counterattack. There were many plays where Trudeau used his exceptional hockey sense to close down the opposition on the rush and then take the puck himself into the offensive zone; one of those rushes actually resulted in a goal for Trudeau.

There may be a ton of competition within the organization for left-shot defencemen, but Trudeau just made a statement that he deserves to be part of the conversation moving forward.

HM: Arber Xhekaj

Just a smooth skating physical specimen that continues to play a safe and hard-nosed game. Arber Xhekaj will be remember for his knockout punch to Senators prospect Zachary Massicotte. His skills will be more apparent versus tougher and stronger competition; these prospect games are tune-ups for a player of his style.