Montreal Canadiens: Filip Mesar Has Successful Return To Kitchener Rangers

Oct 1, 2022; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Montreal Canadiens Filip Mesar (Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2022; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Montreal Canadiens Filip Mesar (Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports /

The Montreal Canadiens made a wise decision as an organization last week when they sent Filip Mesar back to the Ontario Hockey League.

The 19 year old was a first round pick of the Canadiens in the 2022 NHL Draft and played last season with the Kitchener Rangers. He had a solid season, falling somewhere between average and awesome with 17 goals and 51 points in 52 games. He added just one goal and four points in nine playoff games.

This season, Mesar began the year on the Laval Rocket roster. He played two games with them, earning one assist, but also sat out as a healthy scratch for a few games. It was not the best situation for a young player to be battling every shift to keep a spot in the lineup the next night. A highly skilled first round pick deserves to play on a team that will use him in an offensive role.

The Kitchener Rangers will do exactly that for Mesar, and he made his return to the OHL this weekend after being sent down from the Laval Rocket. It was the correct decision by the organization as Mesar will be given a big role, and if his opening weekend of the season is any indication, he is going to have a monster offensive season.

His first game back with the Rangers was Friday night against the Erie Otters, and Mesar helped the Rangers win 5-4 in overtime. He had an assist on a subtle play in the third period where he just moved the puck across the ice in the offensive zone to an open area where a teammate would collect it. It certainly was not a highlight reel play but it led to the puck finding the back of the net a couple of seconds later.

In overtime, Mesar jumped on a bouncing back in the defensive zone, knocked it away from an Otter in the slot and then carried the puck the length of the ice on a two on one. He opened up like he was about to shoot and when the defenseman committed to him he fired a perfect pass across the ice to Matthew Sop who one-timed the puck home to win the game.

His next game was Saturday night and though the Rangers fell 5-3 to the Owen Sound Attack, Mesar was able to add a couple more points. He scored his first of the season when he perfectly read a stretch pass from his own end, barely staying onside and setting himself up for a breakaway.

Once in alone, he found an opening just over the goaltender’s glove and fired a perfect snapshot that hit just inside the goal where the post meets the crossbar. It was just a pinpoint shot while in full stride that very few Junior goaltenders are going to be able to stop.

Just 20 seconds later, Mesar added another point when he fired a shot from the high slot that missed the net, bounced off the glass behind the goal, landed back in front of the net and teammate Mitchell Martin tapped it in.

The Rangers are a high scoring team with five players, in addition to Mesar, averaging over a point per game on the season. With four points in just two games, it looks like Mesar is going to fit in nicely with this great offense and he should be in a position to outpace his production from a year ago.

That is the best thing for his development, as he will continue to gain offensive confidence and pile up points while playing for a strong OHL team. There is no need to rush him to the pro level. He will be better prepared to produce at the pro level in 2024-25 if he dominates Junior this season instead of sitting on the bench and in the press box for the Laval Rocket.

Next. Keeping Monahan and Moving Dvorak Makes Sense. dark

A Winning Habit
A Winning Habit /

Want your voice heard? Join the A Winning Habit team!

Write for us!