Watch Filip Mesar Score Four Points In OHL Debut
The Montreal Canadiens drafted Filip Mesar late in the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft. He had 14 points in 36 pro games last season in Slovakia, so it was difficult to determine where he would play this season.
At 18 years old, he seems not quite old enough to handle the AHL quite yet, but with pro experience there was an argument to say that it would be a step back to send him to Junior.
Mesar did play one AHL game with the Laval Rocket, suiting up as a fourth line right winger on opening night. However, the team chose to send him down to the Kitchener Rangers this season, which gave him an opportunity to play a prominent role. And boy did he deliver in his first game.
Canadiens prospect Filip Mesar destroys competition in Game 1
Mesar played his first ever OHL game last night against the Sudbury Wolves. He made sure to make it one to remember.
Mesar picked up his first point in the first period on a power play. He picked up the puck in the offensive zone and cut to the middle of the ice, waiting for the perfect passing lane to open up. When it did, he fired a laser of a pass across to Reid Valade who had a tap-in, though he hit the post with the initial tap and then had to tap it again to get it over the line.
His second assist was a pretty similar play. The Rangers were on another power play and Mesar gathered the puck off the boards on his off wing. He cut to the open ice and searched for a passing lane, finally deciding to fire it to basically the same spot that resulted in his first point. The puck bounced to Francesco Pinelli who fired it into the net.
Mesar decided to put the puck in the net himself on the next power play. He just picked up the puck in his own zone, went end to end and then fired a wrist shot just inside the far post to give the Rangers a 4-2 lead.
His final assist of the night showed off a bit more of his defensive awareness than his offence. Mesar is on the forecheck but sees the Wolves get control of the puck. He gets back into a defensive position to try and shut down a clean breakout pass and you can see him move his stick to the back hand to cut off a passing lane.
Not so wisely, the Wolves defender tried to fire the puck through that passing lane anyway, but Mesar had it closed off. He stole the puck, got it to Pinelli with a quick stickhandle and a backhand feed, and his centre completed a hat trick.
That was quite the opening act. There was some debate about whether or not Mesar should go back to Junior, but sending him to a place where he can dominate and grow his offensive game and defensive confidence is the right spot.
He certainly didn’t disappoint in his first OHL game. They will be back in action tonight when they face the Guelph Storm.
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