If you’re looking for a deceptively quick winger with exceptional puck-handling skills, look no further than Filip Mesar. While many skaters in this draft can boast about their hands and ability on the puck, not many can claim to have done so in a men’s league, and Mesar, now in his second season in the Slovakian Tipos Extraliga, can claim this feat.
If you think 14 points in 36 games as a 16/17-year-old in a professional league is impressive, then Mesar would have exceeded expectations when he improved upon this in his age 17/18 season, with 16 points in 37 games (and double the goals!).
Mesar is a player that, for being projected as a late first-rounder, has gone under the radar, and his offensive toolkit, particularly in regards to his physicals, is second to none in this draft class.
Team: HK Poprad (Slovakia)
Statistics: 8 G, 8 A, in 37 GP
No. 20 (NA skaters) by NHL Central Scouting
No. 22 by McKenzie/TSN (midseason)
No. 20 by Dobber Prospects (April)
No. 11 by Smaht Scouting
What’s there to like?
As we’ve mentioned, Mesar is not only a fast skater, but an elusive one too. His highlights regularly show off his ability to be agile yet powerful on his skates. He is able to use his body to sell one movement, then quickly act in another way, which is useful in a variety of situations. Think of the one drill where coaches dump the puck into the corner, and the first player off the blocks has to escape from the defender using punch turns. That’s Mesar’s bread and butter.
Filip Mešár (2022) shaking off attackers and finding tight passing lanes— Josh Tessler (@JoshTessler_) January 18, 2022
Pivots to shake off one attacker. After, he got just the right amount of reach to pass through a tight lane. He can be so deceptive and quick with his passing. His body language sells it too. pic.twitter.com/T3t22g0BN8
Mesar has also shown top line speed and ability to use the ice fully when he’s skating up it. He’s a patient offensive mind that excels when he’s on the puck, the definition of that old “dangler” player type from the NHL video games.
Mesar has also proven himself to be a player for big moments, judging by his 4 points in 6 playoff games this year (three of those points being goals).
Check out Filip Mesar going coast-to-coast to pop his second playoff goal this spring.— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) March 28, 2022
His series against Simon Nemec and the Nitra squad is now even at 2-2 pic.twitter.com/LvG3Xi5iGr
Finally, Mesar has a good shot, and can beat goaltenders regularly, but he’s much more of a creator than a scorer as he tends to stick to the more outside lanes in the offensive zone.
What’s not to like?
The knock against Mesar is the same as every young offensive talent: that he tries to do too much and get caught out as a result of this. While he is able to dangle through Extraliga level defenders, this could get him in trouble in the NHL or even AHL, and Mesar loves to dangle. He also is prone to shooting from non-ideal areas in the zone.
Additionally, Mesar doesn’t have the best defensive stick in the world; however, his work rate on the back-check is strong, and you’ll rarely find a scenario where he’s giving up on a play.
How would he fit in the Flyers’ system?
The Flyers have a lot of skilled wingers, but they don’t have any players at the NHL level, yet alone any level, quite like Mesar. His high end skill finds itself appearing in different forms to say Tyson Foerster (pure shooter), Zayde Widsom (good puck battling, grit), or Morgan Frost (playmaker). This is a player who stylistically resembles (according to Last Word on Sports) Saku Koivu, though we’d argue with less defensive prowess and more flashiness.
Could the Flyers actually get him?
It would be a massive reach, but he would be available in the mid-late first round, so yes.
Lastly, to wrap up, we’ll make one addition to the poll:
Tristan Luneau - D, Gatineau Olympiques - 63 GP, 12 G, 31 A, 43 PTS
Luneau has quite a few things going for him. He has a solid 6-foot-2 frame that could use more muscle, but he hasn’t let that hinder his physical play. He’s not shy to throw a hit in corners and uses his body well to separate the opposition from pucks during battles. He possesses a very high hockey IQ defensively, as both his gap control and stick work are two strong points to his game. He’s shown great strides in two years regarding his ability to take away passing lanes and force turnovers, and he’s a good enough skater to take advantage of loose pucks and drive the play forward. - Shawn Wilken, The Hockey Writers
Who should be #25 on the BSH 2022 Community Draft Board
This poll is closed
1. Shane Wright — C, Kingston (OHL)
2. Juraj Slafkovský — LW, TPS (Liiga)
3. Logan Cooley — C, NTDP (USDP/USHL)
4. Simon Nemec — D, HK Nitra (Slovakia)
5. Matthew Savoie — C, Winnipeg (OHL)
6. David Jiricek — D, HC Plzeň (Czechia)
7. Joakim Kemell — W, JYP (Liiga)
8. Conor Geekie — C, Winnipeg (OHL)
9. Frank Nazar — C, NTDP (USDP/USHL)
T-10. Brad Lambert — C, JYP/Pelicans (Liiga)
T-10. Cutter Gauthier — C, NTDP (USDP/USHL)
12. Ivan Miroshnichenko — LW, Omskie Krylia (VHL)
13. Jonathan Lekkerimaki — RW, Djurgårdens IF (Ligga)
14. Danila Yurov — RW, Metallurg Magnitogorsk (KHL)
15. Isaac Howard — LW, NTDP (USDP/USHL)
16. Pavel Mintyukov — D, Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
17. Jimmy Snuggerud — RW, US NTDP (USDP/USHL)
18. Rutger McGroarty — LW, US NTDP (USDP/USHL)
19. Marco Kasper — C, Rogle BK (SHL)
20. Owen Pickering — D, Swift Current (WHL)
21. Seamus Casey — D, NTDP (USDP/USHL)
22. Denton Mateychuk — D, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
23. Jack Hughes — C, Northeastern (NCAA)
24. Filip Mesar - RW, HK Poprad (Slovakia)