Filip Mesar’s time with Laval has come to a quick conclusion as the Habs announced on Saturday that the winger has been sent to Kitchener of the OHL.
The 18-year-old was the 26th-overall pick this summer at the draft in Montreal following a decent showing in the Slovak Extraliga where he had eight goals and eight assists in 37 games during the regular season while adding four more points in six playoff contests. As a teenager playing in a professional league, that’s not too bad and left some, including the Canadiens, believing that Mesar can be a top-six player down the road.
Mesar’s preference was to stay with Laval having played in the pros for two years now but as an undersized player that’s also a double underager in the minors, keeping him there would have had some risks. Also, he wouldn’t have been able to play in the top six for the Rocket which would run against the notion of trying to develop him as a skill forward.
That won’t be the case in Kitchener as Mesar will play a prominent role and likely be used in all situations. It will also be easier to experiment with trying him as a centre which is something that the Canadiens kicked around in the preseason. While this isn’t the outcome that Mesar preferred, it’s certainly the logical one from a development standpoint and is one that should pay some dividends in the end.
Since Mesar won’t play in any NHL games this season, his three-year contract will slide and still have three years left on it next summer. On top of that, since he is in junior, his contract will no longer count against the 50-contract limit which puts Montreal at 45 committed deals at the moment.