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The Next Step For Top Montreal Canadiens Prospect Owen Beck

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Montreal Canadiens prospect Owen Beck

Montreal Canadiens prospect Owen Beck couldn’t possibly have finished his CHL career on a higher note.

The 20-year-old centre set the tone in the Memorial Cup final, scoring twice to lead the Saginaw Spirit to their first championship in team history. His four goals during the tournament were enough to secure All-Star team honours, not to mention the Memorial Cup’s Most Valuable Player trophy.

MUST READ: Highlights – Canadiens Prospect Owen Beck Shines As Memorial Cup MVP

There was already very little doubt as to Beck’s graduation to professional hockey next season, but despite his penchant for constantly rising to the occasion no matter the assignment, there are some fans and analysts who aren’t convinced he’s ready to take the next step in his career.

The truth of the matter is that Beck has been ready for every challenge he’s faced, and if we dig beyond the surface, it is evident that his production was directly tied to his usage during his time in the OHL. Playing in a shutdown role is not conducive to putting up elite numbers, but it will serve Beck well as he tries to carve out a spot with either the Canadiens or their AHL affiliate, the Laval Rocket.

The recent production surge was once again driven by usage, as the Saginaw Spirit put Beck in a position to flourish in the offensive zone. And while the driving force behind the change in numbers is rather evident, heading into training camp as the reigning Memorial Cup MVP will certainly give him a leg up on the competition.

Tough Road Ahead

Jake Evans was recently voted as the most underrated player in the lineup thanks to his high-end work ethic and affability, and yet some are already eying his spot in the lineup as an opportunity that could lead to Beck’s breakthrough into the NHL.

There’s merit to the logic.

Beck is a smart, hard-working centre who can play key shutdown minutes at 5v5 and the penalty kill, and is the type of player that doesn’t necessitate much coaching. A high-output, low-maintenance player.

In other words, he’s a coach’s dream.

However, you could replace Beck’s name in that sentence with Evans’, and the statement would still hold true.

And though Evans is yet to crack the 30-point mark in his career, you’d be hard-pressed to suggest reaching 28 points while playing in the bottom-six of a bottom-five team is an underwhelming result.

Simply put, it won’t be easy for Beck to usurp Evans’ place in the lineup. At least not immediately.

The grass could always be greener, but for now, it’s in good shape and doesn’t require re-sodding.

Owen Beck Strengths

If the Canadiens end up moving centre Christian Dvorak, then the odds of Beck playing in Montreal next season suddenly become a lot better.

But even if there is a spot in the lineup available, we should be careful when it comes to suggesting it’s Beck’s for the taking.

Having a storybook ending to your CHL career is entertaining, but rather meaningless when it comes to earning a job in the NHL.

Fortunately for Beck, he has a few things working in his favour.

He already possesses the type of skillset that usually takes young players a few years to fine-tune. His defensive prowess is fantastic, his skating is top-notch, and he gives a Gallagheresque effort every shift.

His offensive potential, while somewhat limited, is boosted by his deceptive release and his elite anticipation in the offensive zone.

And yet, the asset that will likely garner him the most attention from Martin St-Louis or Jean-Francois Houle is his astounding faceoff proficiency. He won’t always win nearly 80 percent of his draws, as he did during the Memorial Cup final, but he is easily one of the best players outside of the NHL when it comes to taking faceoffs, as evidenced by his 58.5 win rate this season.

Combine his faceoff excellence with his ability to quickly absorb information handed down by the coaching staff, and you can see why Beck is already well-tailored for the professional ranks.

He’s also built a nasty streak into his game, yet another feather in his cap when it comes to playing in the pros.

Owen Beck won’t necessarily start the season with the Montreal Canadiens, however, when it comes to his NHL aspirations, it’s not a matter if, but when.

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Dana

You nailed it Marc, I agree on every point, great article.

Here is why I believe that is so critical for our aspirations to be an elite team later this decade. I’m projecting him as a 3C ( eventually) with a .5-.65 ppg offensive range based on his skills and the likelihood that he will have some really talented players flanking him which could be Roy and Newhook. Not many 45+ point third line centers in the league and even fewer with the multifaceted portfolio he possesses. That is the type of competitive advantage the club needs as won’t have a mcdavid or mackinnon ( but importantly wont have their cap hits either) and need stronger lineups lines 2-4 to overmatch the competition. Our top line projects be top a 10 first line in the league once they are in their primes and the other lines even stronger on a relative basis. Guys like Beck will contribute above their salary and he demonstrated that he’s a team first guy by his roles on Peterborough and wjhc team Canada and in Saginaw.
Coaches dream, appreciated teammate and a fan favourite.

Dana

I’m not down on Gallagher, heart and soul player- ton of respect for the body of work he has contributed. Skills have diminished a bit as especially time and wear and tear have taken their tolls but the effort and determination are still there- if only that was teachable!!

I don’t talk about him much as I don’t think he has a lot of time left and I expect he will be out of hockey in a few more years due to the effects of compound injuries, but those two puck pit bulls on the same line would be fun to watch!!

Billy739

He’s a good Center but better Winger/Pest
Its like Marchand who played Center in Moncton on the Wildcats.
Halifax got him and he moved to Wing as he was better there with more minutes

Danault was moved from Center in Moncton for to Barbashev’s Wing because on Wing he was one of the fastest forwards in all of the QMJHL at the time and it wasnt even close.

For Beck he shuts down big name players so well.
He’ll take a big star off the ice with him in offsetting penalties to open up the ice for his teammates. He’s Smart and he creates offensive oppourtunities by proxy but most important he’ll take a busted nose to draw a penalty type of guy

For me if Dach’s gonna stay a Center support from wing by a guy like Beck will be a Must as there’s few as truly horrible at faceoffs then Dach who makes Drouin look like an All Star Faceoff Center by Proxy. Dach DOMINATES at every other Fascett of the game except Faceoffs when Beck thrives with minimal effort.

Kapanen is the FAR SUPERIOR Faceoff Center as good as Beck is.
Becks never competed on the levels Kapanen has in that role since he was 17 for his Country. Kapanen’s Faceoff and Defensive ability defined him with little hope his offense would kick in but after years of playing with top talent and tops coaches/trainers he broke out across levels in 2024.

With the Arrival of Florian Xhekaj turning pro in the AHL at 19 this makes MTL’s Faceoff situation for Bottom 6 long term very solid as Davidson is the second coming of Paul Byron with Gallaghers Mouth. I wouldnt rule this young man out as he was surrounded by a dozen 1st and 2nd rounders in Junior including a lot of top notch 1st rounders and he lead them in every way. They constantly added new guys and Davison constantly helped them adjust. Guys like that are built for long term success in the bottom 6

So many players turning Pro at the same time
We got Hughes and Bergavins picks head to head competing for limited spots in the NHL and AHL rosters. It should be fun to see who wins out

Tyrone

Hmm, a defensively astute player whose point production leapt forward once he was used more frequently in offensive situations…? Sounds like another Danault. That would be a tremendous addition to our team building towards becoming a champion.

Don’t forget, Beck was the Scholastic Player of the Year a few years ago. That definitely shows there’s something good going on between his ears.

Dana

Daneault is a very good comparable! Think Beck might be a bit quicker. Similar stats in junior, both made team Canada based on well rounded games.

Billy739

Nope,different roles entirely as Danault sucked at faceoffs in Junior.
Danault was the fastest QMJHL Skater of his time.
Danault on Wing vs Danault at Center is VASTLY different.

Playing Barbashev’s wing in Junior he was called “The Road Runner” for a reason. At the NHL level its impossible for a Center who isnt a Power Forward to hit those kinda speeds without getting put on LTIR

Danault made Team Canada after Danault-Barbashev-Jaskin from 3rd line lead the Wildcats in Points after a ridiculous run when Danault as acquired. Neither Russian was fitting in but Danault helped Jaskin jump to a top 5 scorer behind Mantha’s and Drouin’s after a slow start to the season. Danault was that good a teammate that Jaskin scored like 40 points in the first 20 games including a lot of big Goals. Barbs became a threat as a Center for the first time and Danault was dominating on their Wing.

Jaskin had 46 goals that year and maybe 4 before Danault joined.
99 points and maybe 10 before Danault showed up.
We had a great Center in Ivan Barbashev but no playmaking leader.
Thats where Danault helped both these guys from washing out.
SO MANY Russians come here and Wash out like Kovanov the former MIN pick was the only PPG player besides Lefreneiere his draft year but washed out of Junior and had his rights terminated by MIN

If not for Danault’s skills on Wing Barbashev and Jaskin woulda been in Russia back to square 1 by 2014. Danault actually learned to Translate Russian and helped them learn English just to get them going and his effort unleashed them.

CHI AHL team called right after.
Team Canada called not too long after

Tyrone

I wasn’t comparing Beck to Danault in junior btw. I was comparing him to MTL Danault used as a defensive specialist only vs LAK Danault that was allowed to be offensive too and how he exploded in his first year in Los Angeles.

Billy739

Thats Kapanen.
Beck is more like Brad Marchand but can take faceoffs still.
When we took Brad in Junior thats what he was , same as Connor Garland when we got him as well.

Beck’s a Perfect LW Pest for the top 6 and Faceoffs support for Dach or Newhook who are sketchy there at best. Boosts Dach/Newhooks role so when the youth eventually push them out their trade value is higher.

If it helps to see him with a lower Comparable he’s Andrew Shaw but Better. But i had class with Brad and watched him from Junior until now. I see a lot of similarities especially when it comes to the mind game side of things as he’s in peoples heads all game long

Tyrone

Considering Beck’s faceoff acumen, using him anywhere but C would be a waste imo.

Billy739

Only Suzuki and Armia had positive numbers when we were a man down. People pretend Jake Evans was Paul Byron or Phil Danault or Even Armia level but that’s simply not the case.

I championed Evans since his days in NCAA when he lead the team he Captained to a NCAA Final coming up a goal short from a Title. He went to the AHL and was the Top Producing Center for the 2 years he was there then when he got to the NHL he pushed out Kotkaniemi then Tatar in 2 straight playoffs

That was the ned of the Rise of Jake Evans
Once he pushed out Tatar and was the 3rd Center to leap frog KK
That was it in terms of Progress until last year when his Faceoffs drastically improved under the tutelage of Sean Monahan. But Vastly improved doesnt mean top half of the league , just means he is no longer in the bottom half.

There’s a lot to like about Evans in the same way people like Pitlick, Shore or Grant but thats about it. He’s not Defensively Good Enough to stand out like Byron , Danault or Armia. But Jake Evans lead a group of the only Habs in my lifetime to lead the NHL in Short Handed Goals Against. . .

Jake Evans in Owen Becks Way? hahahahahahaa …. haha . HA!
Kasperi Kapanen who the year of 2024 is all his, thats his worry.
KK is a better Faceoff Center and Better Defensively
Until this year Beck had offensive skills past KK
But this year KK i’d say matched that if not passed it.

Thats ignoring the 6’4 Power Center at 19 in Laval in Florian Xhekaj, Riley Kidney the playmaking speedster , Filip Mesar and Jared Davidson who are all really good Centers fighting for 4 Center roles with Gignac and Simmoneau in Laval. Thats assuming Lias Andersons rights arent Qualified.

You cant dumb Dvo if you tried before the TDL.
But Evans at his cap vs his play?
Yeah a team would be interested in gambling on him before the TDL
Likely get yourself a pick and a prospect just off his ELC or about to be.

Dana

Think Florian is a left winger. Evans turned 28 on Sunday. He Dvorak and Armia are up after next season so all 3 could be useful rentals at the TDL, maybe. That would allow Beck to acclimate to the pro game in the AHL before coming up to replace one of the 3 or displace as the case may be.

I compared beck to Daneault in junior. I also live in Moncton and am still recovering from Victoriaville crushing us after Daneault joined us after wjhc from them. Almost as bad as losing to the Ramparts at tge Coliseum in the Memorial cup finals. They both are well rounded players and both scored at similar rates and both were acquired by teams making a Memorial Cup run. Both play the game hard and fast and by the rules. Beck has never had more than 20 pim in a season