A day after inking Juraj Slafkovsky to his entry-level deal, it was Filip Mesar’s turn to sign as the Canadiens announced on Thursday that the winger has signed his three-year contract. The deal carries a $950,000 cap hit and notably does not contain any performance bonuses.
The 18-year-old was the 26th selection last week out of Poprad in the Slovak Extraliga. Mesar did well as a draft-eligible player playing against men, notching eight goals and eight assists in 37 games, good for 12th on the team in scoring.
Mesar also was named to Slovakia’s squad for the cancelled World Juniors and should be a lock to suit up for them in the rescheduled tournament next month (unlike Juraj Slafkovsky who will likely be encouraged not to attend to get ready for NHL training camp).
As Mesar was a first-round pick, Montreal gains full assignment rights to determine where he goes next season. It’s worth noting that Kitchener made him a high pick in the recent CHL Import Draft (ninth overall) so they believe there’s a good chance he’ll report there. As an undersized player that needs to fill out his frame, playing major junior would be a better route for him to take compared to trying to play in Laval.
Some teams will wait for a year to see how their late first-round pick does to see if they’re worthy of a contract but clearly, the Canadiens have seen enough already. As long as he doesn’t play in ten NHL games next season, his contract will slide a year and begin in the 2023-24 campaign.