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Montreal Canadiens

Filip Mesar Making Decision On His Future Quite Complicating

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Filip Mesar

The Montreal Canadiens will have a very difficult decision when it comes to where Filip Mesar plays next season.

The 26th overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft doesn’t yet know where he will play next season, but his play since Canadiens rookie camp has made the decision far more complicated than first thought. Initially, it was reported on 32 Thoughts by NHL Insider Jeff Marek that Mesar would be loaned to the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers, who own his rights in the CHL, after training camp.

However, it seems like Mesar is on a mission to prove that he is ready to face the daily grind of pro hockey in North America, as he continues to look and play like a pro during this intriguing preseason.

Mesar has routinely been put on lines with the Laval Rocket’s top players like Jesse Ylönen or Anthony Richard and has performed quite admirably. He’s shown his ability to create offence and make space for himself with his impressive stickhandling and skating.

His deployment at centre is also not a coincidence at this time. The Laval Rocket is not exactly overflowing with offensive-minded centres on their roster, but rather a combination of fringe NHLers like Mitchell Stephens, and young prospects like Jan Mysak. Mesar was expected to top out as a winger once he cracks the NHL, due in large part to his size (5’10, 176lbs); but he’s shown the vision and fiestiness necessary for him to perform optimally at the position at the pro level.

As Mesar has begun to get his timing right through many intra-squad and pre-season games, he’s become more comfortable and is showing off more of his abilities; especially his dangles. He was a standout player for the Canadiens against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night; by not only showing off some electric skill, but also by playing a responsible game amid all the chaos going on in the neutral and defensive zone.

The Maple Leafs had some tough customers on defence, and Mesar didn’t shy away from making plays and trying to beat them with his smarts and his speed.

On Saturday night against the Ottawa Senators, Mesar seemed to have really settled into the playmaking role that made him such a force at the international level forSlovakiaa in the past; as he routinely executed sucessful zone entries for the Canadiens. He is thinking the game quicker now, but showing enough patience with the puck to not force plays.

He may not be lighting up the scoresheet on a regular basis, but he is showing habits and abilities that correlate to the sustainable generation of offence; and that has become more evident after every game. Just on this play below, Mesar successfully enters the zone, takes a second to analyze the play, sees he’s being double covered and slides the puck back to Rafël Harvey-Pinard, who makes a great pass to Jesse Ylönen for a prime offensive chance.

One of the biggest issues for the Canadiens, and, to a lesser extent, the Laval Rocket over the last couple of years, is the lack ofpuck-carryingg forwards capable of skating the puck into the offensive zone with speed and making plays without breaking stride. It’s an attractive package of skills, smarts and speed that Mesar is demonstrating to Montreal Canadiens management, and, if he continues to improve as rapidly as he has over the last two weeks, general manager Kent Hughes may have to get Mesar an Opus card (for travel to Laval) rather than a plane ticket.

 

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Brian Chandler

The #26 pick is looking like a #1 pick while the #1 pick is looking like a #26 pick so far.

habbernack

IMO I would like to see both Mesar and Slafkovsky play on a line with Laval. Develop a line in Laval that can move up to the Habs. This is development. I would also see Beck do what Suzuki and Xhejak did in their final year of Jrs. Who knows , Maybe he will get traded to a contender. and carry his team to the Memorial Cup. I would like to see him follow in Suzuki’s path so to speak

Curtis Ault

Given his age, I understand the desire to see him play in the OHL. I think this displays a bias against European hockey, in which he has played professionally in Slovakia for the past two seasons.
I don’t think Laval would hurt his development at all.

habbernack

Personally I would like to see Slaf, Mesar and Ylonen as a line with Laval

Curtis Ault

I would like a couple of wingers cleared out to make way for Ylonen with the Habs. In the meantime, I like your idea in Laval.

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