19th ranked U24 Habs player - Filip Mesar

Mesar played seven fewer games this season than last and scored one more point. It's progression, but slow and steady wins the tace, right?
Ottawa Senators v Montreal Canadiens
Ottawa Senators v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

For the month of May, aside from the NHL Draft lottery, there isn’t much going on. So here at A Winning Habit, I’ve decided to rank the 24 best Canadiens under 24 years old. I opted to rank players that are closest to the NHL, so aside from David Reinbacher, there are no 2023 Draftees. 

So, without further ado, let’s go ahead with the 19th best player, in my opinion, Filip Mesar. 

Filip Mesar was the second of the Habs' two first-round selections in the 2022 NHL Draft, going 26th in a move that a story could be written about. Mesar joined fellow Hab and countrymen Juraj Slafkovsky in a special moment, that was a long time coming for the childhood friends. Mesar's development has gone a little slower than Slafkovsky's, but the jury is still out and Mesar could surprise many in his debut AHL season.

While he hasn't been dominant in the OHL, it's time for him to make the jump from junior to the pros, which will be a big determining factor; as to where he is at in his development. He is a very toolsy player, employing a game predicated on blazing speed and crafty puck skills. Mesar is more of a playmaker, but as he gets stronger; his shot could become much more of a threat, adding another dimension to his game.

Mesar's 2023-24 season with the Kitchener Rangers saw him score 19-33-52 through 45 games. He continued his scoring ways into the playoffs, recording one goal and 15 assists through 10 games. The 20-year-old looked confident and poised; but it wasn't the Rangers year, in what was likely his final taste of OHL playoff action.

His focus has presumably shifted to his first full professional season in 2024-25 with Laval. He will have plenty of eyes on him, considering he was the Habs' next pick after Slafkovsky and we have seen how far Slafkovsky's game has come. Expectations are certainly different, but when you're a first-round pick, it comes with certain pressure and outside noise, especially.

For now, Mesar ranks as the 19th best under-24 Canadiens player, but he could shoot up the list, with a great debut pro season. Although he is on the smaller side, I think there is a belief that he will play in the Canadiens' top nine at some point, otherwise, why select him so high? Mesar has the speed and skills to get the Bell Centre rocking and if he can create on the power play or at some point with No. 20, it could be quite the story.