Mesar, Beck & The OHL Habs Prospects

Saginaw Spirit v Ottawa 67's
Saginaw Spirit v Ottawa 67's / Chris Tanouye/GettyImages

The Ontario Hockey League’s playoffs have started recently and the Montreal Canadiens have plenty of reason for excitement.

Owen Beck and the Saginaw Spirit have gotten off to a hot start. The Spirit are up two games to none against the Owen Sound Attack. Meanwhile Beck has scored at a three point-per-game pace. 

Over in Kitchener, Filip Mesar and the Rangers are tied at one game apiece with the Erie Otters. Mesar has also managed three points in each of the Rangers first two playoff games. Mesar’s six assists have done an excellent job of showcasing his great playmaking skills.

In Brantford, Bulldogs centre Florian Xhekaj has a goal and an assist through two games against the 67S. While Habs defenseman prospect Daniil Sobolev has a lone assist. Sobolev projects as more of an AHL depth defender.

Also to note, while the Bulldogs were thwarted 6-3, Xhekaj opened the scoring. When the team needed a spark, Xhekaj was there to give the team some energy. His fight tied up the Gordie Howe hat-trick.

It's only the start of the playoffs, and very early into the first round, but Canadiens management has gotten to see a lot of action packed hockey. You wouldn't be mistaken in saying that the most intriguing prospects aren't playing in the Canadian Hockey League ranks. But Beck is a bona fide centre talent and Mesar, who is still very young has heaps of potential.

Xhekaj has been a revelation this season for the Bulldogs, which must have Kent Hughes gleaming from ear-to-ear. He looked like a career American Hockey League talent ahead of being drafted. But he is doing an awful lot of work to rewrite that narrative, perhaps to one that sees him as a future fourth line centre for the Canadiens.

It's early to project and predict where these prospects who are just two years removed from their draft year will end up. Aside from Beck, the rest look at least a couple of years away from playing in the NHL, but they will more than likely require seasoning in the AHL. That is relatively disappointing for Mesar, but as we have discussed time and time again, development isn't a straight line.

Beck plays tonight, so he will likely pad his stats a little more and continue dominating in the faceoff circle. And the others will play a bunch of other important games. One in the Memorial Cup from the OHL, then one each from the Western Hockey League and Quebec Maritimes Junior Hockey League, along with the hosts (Beck's Saginaw Spirit).