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Filip Mesar will be ready if the Habs want to try him out at center, but…

When the Habs drafted Filip Mesar 26th overall in 2022, he wasn’t necessarily the popular choice. While many hoped the club would draft Jiri Kulich or even Lane Hutson (eventually drafted by the Habs at #62) at that time, the Habs opted for a second Slovak in the first round.

And with Mesar’s 2022-23 season not always easy, the choice left a bitter taste in the mouths of many for several months. Especially since Kulich was very solid in the AHL, with 46 points in 62 games…

But in 2023-24, the tide really seems to have turned for Mesar. Back in Kitchener, he’s a big part of the team’s (surprising) success, with 36 points in 24 games. He’s playing some great hockey this season, and more than ever, he looks like a guy who could help the Habs in the long run.

And speaking of his impact in Montreal over the next few years, Mesar was on the Recrutes Draftcast with Grant McCagg and Shayne Guimond today, and was asked if he saw himself playing center or wing in the NHL.

His answer? He says he’s ready to play center if the club wants to give him a chance, but…

It’s not necessarily that Mesar doesn’t see himself playing center, but that he feels more comfortable in a winger role. It’s working out well for him in Kitchener so far, and while he does take the occasional face-off and considers himself good at it (he thinks he’s a guy who can win 50-60% of his duels), he definitely feels more comfortable in a winger’s chair.

Well, frankly, I tend to agree with him. I think we’ll see him take the occasional face-off and possibly help out at center, but full-time, he’ll be a winger. Basically, at this level, I see him in a “Paul Byron” chair, doing much the same thing.

Mesar also talked about his season in Kitchener, giving a lot of credit to the team’s new coach, Jussi Ahokas, for the club’s fine campaign so far. The Habs prospect also noted that Ahokas coached Juraj Slafkovský in Finland in recent years, so he already knew a thing or two about him.

Speaking of Slaf, who has obviously been good friends with Mesar for a long time, the podcast guest revealed that his compatriot has always been the biggest and fattest player on the ice for as long as he can remember. And according to Mesar, by the age of 12, Slaf was already… six feet tall, prompting Mesar to nickname him “Dino” (in the dinosaur sense) ever since.

Here ‘s the link to the full interview. We wish Mesar every success in Kitchener between now and the end of the season (he’ll be playing alongside Eduard Sale, freshly acquired from Kitchener, for the rest of the season) before the Habs’ next camp, where he’ll be hoping to muddy the waters.

The ball is in his court.

In a gust

– We’ll see what happens.

– That’s a nice way to look at it.

– Boston’s on the move.

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