Montreal Canadiens prospect Filip Mesar is currently playing some of the best hockey of his young career. The 19-year-old forward is among the top scorers at the 2024 World Junior Championship, which is taking place in Gothenburg, Sweden.
And though Slovakia was eliminated by Finland in a quarterfinal matchup on Tuesday morning, it’s only fair to say that Mesar made his mark on the game and the tournament, thanks to his high-end playmaking skills and underrated shot.
With Slovakia trailing 3-2 in the dying minutes of the third period, Mesar stepped up to play the hero role, scoring a clutch goal to give his country another opportunity to beat the heavily favoured Finns in overtime.
— Elite Prospects (@eliteprospects) January 2, 2024
It continues his excellent season in the Ontario Hockey League, where Mesar improved his production rate significantly. After scoring just 51 points in 52 games last season for the Kitchener Rangers, Mesar has found a new gear, as evidenced by his 13 goals and 19 assists in 20 games this year. Of course, it helps that the Rangers are a much better team this season, but Mesar is also one of the driving forces behind their resurgence.
His improved play in the Ontario Hockey League and his excellent showing at the 2024 World Junior Championship should serve as a much-needed confidence boost for the Montreal Canadiens prospect, who, at times, has shown flashes of brilliance, but was yet to put it all together for an extended stretch.
Mesar is expected to make the jump to the AHL or the NHL next season, providing an infusion of offensive prowess to lineups that desperately need more talent.
And though he took a little longer to start producing at a rate that would justify his first-round selection in 2022, Mesar is the perfect example of how prospect development is never linear.
It’s too early to suggest he’s going to dominate once he’s done in the Ontario Hockey League, but there’s no doubt Mesar did a great job reminding everyone in the organization that he still has untapped potential.