Montreal Canadiens: Juraj Slafkovsky, Filip Mesar Should Go To World Juniors

MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JULY 07: (L-R) Juraj Slafkovsky and Filip Mesar of the Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JULY 07: (L-R) Juraj Slafkovsky and Filip Mesar of the Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The first two picks for the Montreal Canadiens in the 2022 Draft, both hail from Slovakia.

Now, why is that significant you ask? Well, in most cases, it’s just another country, and two more players with hopes to one day play for the Habs. But Juraj Slafkovsky and Filip Mesar, have one last chance to represent their country at the upcoming World Junior Hockey Championships.

With both players eligible to play, since they are under 20 years old, the Habs Slovak duo could be two big pieces for the Slovakian roster, should Kent Hughes and Martin St Louis decide to let them go.

During a season of rebuilding, it doesn’t hurt the team very much if Slafkovsky plays in the tournament. As for Mesar, he has shown huge strides in his game during year two, and generally, junior players occupy the rosters during the tournament. Playing alongside some of their young fellow countrymen against other players of the same age could be huge for their confidence.

Not only that, but they would get the opportunity to build some chemistry with some other Slovakian top prospects. This means a little less to the NHL club, but it is big in preparation for future best-on-best tournaments like the Olympics and World Cup of Hockey. Players like Simon Nemec and Dalibor Dvorsky are also great potential additions, and these four guys will add some skill to the country’s squad.

Slovakian Hopefuls

Along with Slafkovsky, Mesar and Dvorsky, the Slovakian team will likely feature a few more talented prospects. A potential future number one goalie, and a top-line winger. And along with Nemec, there’s another future top-four defenseman.

Here are some of the other notable prospects that could find their way onto team Slovakia’s roster for the World Junior Championships.

Adam Gajan – Goaltender, Chicago Black Hawks – 2023 – 35th Overall

Martin Misiak – Winger, Chicago Blackhawks – 2023 – 55th Overall

Samuel Honzek – Left Wing, Calgary Flames – 2023 -16th Overall

Alex Ciernik – Winger, Philadelphia Flyers – 2023 – 120th Overall

Adam Sykora – Winger, New York Rangers – 2022 – 64th Overall

Maxim Strbak – Defenseman, Buffalo Sabres – 2023 – 45th Overall

Juraj Pekarcik – Winger, St. Louis Blues – 2023 – 16th Overall

This team could be a dark horse to make it to the medal round. I’m not suggesting that they are more talented than the top four countries of Canada, USA, Sweden and Finland. But they should be right in the mix with Czechia and Switzerland.

There are no indications of invitees thus far, but there are likely some other top prospects who will get the call. Regardless of that, however, should Mesar and Slafkovsky get the nod, it’s likely the childhood friends could be a top duo for their home team. Mesar has exploded in year two, and Slafkovsky is finding his way in the NHL, so the confidence they will gain from representing their country is immeasurable.

Best on best against their own age group should show exactly where they are at in their development. Not only that, but it will be huge for both players to get time on both special teams units.

With December inching closer, the talk of the tournament will start to blow up – and expect Mesar and Slafkovsky’s names to be right in the thick of it.

Next. How Habs Stack Up In Future Atlantic Division Arms Race. dark

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