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Canadiens Prospect Highlights

Montreal Canadiens Prospects Mesar And Beck Erasing Doubts



Montreal canadiens prospects FIlip Mesar

The 2022 NHL Entry Draft will define the Montreal Canadiens. The host team made 11 picks, including four in the first two rounds, giving them a great opportunity to begin their rebuild in earnest.

And while much has been made of Lane Hutson’s NCAA dominance and Juraj Slafkovsky’s rocky development in the NHL, the prospects chosen 26th and 33rd overall have garnered much less attention.

Owen Beck and Filip Mesar did not play poorly in their Draft + 1 seasons, but any time a player signs an entry-level contract shortly after the Draft, the bar is set a little higher.

In that vein, the criticism levelled at their production was understandable to a certain extent.

Mesar finished his season with 51 points in 52 games, whereas Beck, who started the season by scoring 41 points in 30 games with the Mississauga Steelheads, saw his production drop significantly once he joined the Peterborough Petes.

Like any development story, there were mitigating factors at play when discussing their production.

Mesar was playing on a Kitchener Rangers team that had a very hard time finding its rhythm. Things improved after they replaced their head coach, but you’d be hard-pressed to argue it was an ideal situation for the Slovak forward.

As for Beck, he was tasked with taking on significant defensive responsibilities for the Petes. It was a smart decision by Rob Wilson, as the Petes ended up winning the Ontario Hockey League Championship, earning a surprise invite to the Memorial Cup in the process.

But as long as the two prospects belong to the Montreal Canadiens,  a team starved for prospects with offensive talent, their production will come under heavy scrutiny.

Draft + 2

Mesar hasn’t just improved his scoring pace, though it is hard to ignore that he went from .98 points per game last year to 1.68 points per game this season.

The key improvement in his case is his level of engagement during every shift. Mesar is driving the play, and when he’s not the one carrying the puck he does not hesitate to head to high-danger scoring areas. That was not always the case during his first season with the Rangers.

Of course, playing on a much healthier team is important, and that’s part of the reason Mesar has started scoring with more regularity, but we do have to give credit to the player due to his improved work rate.

He has eight goals and six assists in his last nine games, including a three-point effort on Friday which helped the Rangers overcome a four-goal deficit to beat the Brantford Bulldogs.

As for Beck, he’s taken significant steps when it comes to his shot. He only scored seven goals in 30 games for the Petes last season, whereas he’s already up to 16 goals in 25 games this year.

He’s taken on a bigger offensive role while maintaining the elite level of defensive prowess that tends to lead to his coaches trusting him with the most important shifts on any given night.

Beck also enjoyed a three-point game on Friday, helping the Petes cruise to a 5-2 win over the Ottawa 67’s.

Both Beck and Mesar should play a crucial role for their countries during the upcoming World Junior Championship, but in the meantime, Montreal Canadiens fans can rest easy knowing the rumours of their offensive decline have been greatly exaggerated.