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Owen Beck: Scott Wheeler is “increasingly worried” about his NHL projection

Over the past ten days or so, the WJC has attracted a great deal of attention in the hockey world, but also at the Habs. Whether it was Filip Mesar’s fine tournament, Lane Hutson’s late-game fight yesterday or the USA’s gold medal win, there was plenty of action in Montreal.

Our colleague Tony Patoine has written an excellent article analyzing the CMJ of the Habs’ four prospects, as well as those who could be of interest to the Tricolore at the next draft.

However, if there’s one Canadiens prospect who “disappointed” during the tournament, it’s Owen Beck. He wasn’t bad, but he was… ordinary.

And in his notes on the various prospects who took part in the WJC, Scott Wheeler(The Athletic) wasn’t the most complimentary either. He admits to having enjoyed watching Beck “set the tone” in terms of physicality and work ethic, but there’s still some not-so-good in his assessment:

I found him very difficult to execute with the puck, and I’m increasingly concerned about his NHL projection. – Scott Wheeler, on Owen Beck

Of course, this is a little worrying in the sense that Beck is considered a safe bet in the Montreal prospect pool. Since his draft, he’s been labeled as a future third-trio center, and generally speaking, his floor is seen as high.

High in the sense that many expect him to reach his potential as a third-trio center, to be precise.

I must confess that I find it hard to attach much importance to the CMJ of Canada’s players (with the exception of Macklin Celebrini, who managed to steal the show at the age of 17) considering the poor performance of the team as a whole. No one really performed well, but that doesn’t mean we should panic.

That said, Wheeler isn’t necessarily wrong either: it’s true that Beck didn’t play up to his potential. He won a lot of face-offs, of course, but for a 19-year-old who was here last year, one might have expected better.

I’m still pretty confident that Beck will find success in the NHL eventually and that his execution is likely to improve with experience, but for a defensive center, it’s something that’s important and something he’ll need to work on.

It’s up to him now.

In bursts

– The Senators are active on the trade market.

– We’ll see if it pays off in future games.

– Jessica Lapinski met with Samuel Montembeault’s QMJHL boarding family to learn more about him. Very interesting. [JDM]

– Habs alumnus goes through Kevin Bieksa’s wringer.

– A brawl broke out between Ducks fans and Jets fans yesterday.[HF]

– A first hat trick in PWHL history.

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