Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2022 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we bring you our Filip Mesar Scouting Report.
The 2022 NHL Draft might be the best draft ever for the country of Slovakia. The third Slovakian in our draft rankings, Filip Mesar was the top centre on the Slovakian team that won a silver medal at last summer’s Hlinka-Gretzky Cup. He scored two goals and six assists for eight points in five tournament games. He also made the Slovakian team for the World Juniors, but the tournament was postponed to August due to a COVID-19 outbreak. Unfortunately, Mesar did not get to play at this spring’s Under-18 World Championships as Slovakia had previously been relegated from the top division. He did play for the Slovakian Men’s team, appearing in three games at the Deutschland Cup.
Mesar played his club hockey for HK Poprad in the Slovakian Extraliga. Playing against men, he put up eight goals and eight assists for 16 points in 37 games this season. He also added three goals and an assist for four points in six playoff games. Mesar also appeared in three games for the club in the Continental Cup Tournament. His cousin Maros is also in the Poprad system.
Filip Mesar Scouting Report
Centre/Right Wing — shoots Right
Born January 3rd, 2004 — Spisska Bela, Slovakia
Height 5’10” — Weight 176 [178 cm/80 kg]
Overall, Mesar’s skating is pretty good, but there are still some things that he can work on. His strides are a little short and choppy, which means that his top-end speed is only average in the class. However, he excels in other areas. His first step and his acceleration are quick, allowing him to win races to loose pucks and to separate from defenders once he gets a step. His edgework and agility are also high-end. Mesar is able to quickly change directions, creating issues for defenders. He could add muscle to his frame though. This will make him stronger on the boards and in battles in front of the net. It will also help him to fight through checks.
Mesar is an outstanding playmaker. He marries his ability to change directions quickly with excellent puck handling ability. With his quick movements, he can carry the puck through the neutral zone and generate efficient zone entries. He can also create passing lanes with his quick lateral movements and soft hands. Mesar controls the pace of play, speeding it up or slowing it down as necessary to maintain puck possession. His slick moves also allow him to maintain possession and give his linemates time to get open. When they do, he can make a tape-to-tape pass through tight passing lanes. He also has the ability to accurately saucer the puck to a teammate.
Mesar’s shot is a bit of a work in progress. While he has an accurate wrist shot, it lacks power and he could be quicker with his release. As a result, most of his goals come inside the hash marks. One issue though is that Mesar can sometimes play a bit too much of a perimeter game, settling to control things on the outside instead of getting to the front of the net. However, he is not afraid of physical contact despite his size. He gets in quickly on the forecheck and works hard to win battles along the boards. His low centre of gravity is an asset here. However, he must get stronger to continue to play this style on smaller North American ice.
Mesar does a decent job in the defensive zone. He is always on the right side of the puck in the offensive zone and this helps him to be the first forward back supporting his defensive teammates. He brings good pressure against the rush and forces his man to the outside. In the zone, he is strong positionally and uses an active stick to create turnovers. Mesar cuts down passing lanes and can poke-check an opponent. He is willing to get involved physically in battles on the boards and in front of the net, but his lack of size and strength is a bit of a limiting factor right now.
Projection and Comparison
Mesar has the potential to be a top-six centre at the next level, but there are still some areas he will need to work on. He is likely a couple of years away from being ready for the NHL. Expect him to spend another year in Slovakia, possibly coming to the AHL for the 2023-24 season. He should be a key player for Slovakia at the August World Junior Tournament as well as at the 2023 Tournament next winter. Mesar needs to add some muscle to his frame. He also needs to work on lengthening his stride, which could improve his top-end speed. His compete-level and defensive game are good for his age, so he has a good chance to be an NHL player, even if he falls a little short on his offensive potential. His game is reminiscent of Saku Koivu. This is a stylistic comparison and not one based on skill and potential.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Filip Mesar that are available on youtube and Twitter.
Check out Filip Mesar going coast-to-coast to pop his second playoff goal this spring.
His series against Simon Nemec and the Nitra squad is now even at 2-2 pic.twitter.com/LvG3Xi5iGr
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) March 28, 2022
Filip Mešár goes for a skate and rips one home.
He would've had a primary assist as well, but time just expired before the puck went in.
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) January 18, 2022
Filip Mesar with the nice first-period trail and finish.
He now has 2 goals and 3 points in ~3 games since returning from the WJC and is up to 7 goals and 12 points in ~23 Slovak top league games overall. pic.twitter.com/I1dMd4dTXA
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) January 25, 2022
— Steven Ellis (@StevenEllisTHN) August 3, 2021
Filip Mesar is soooooo good pic.twitter.com/WrEUfS5LTt
— Gavin Chiasson (@NHLChiasson) October 4, 2021
Slovakia makes it 5-2.
— Steven Ellis (@StevenEllisTHN) August 2, 2021
Filip Mešár (2022) shaking off attackers and finding tight passing lanes 👀
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
— Josh Tessler 🇺🇦 (@JoshTessler_) January 18, 2022
Check back tomorrow for our latest 2022 NHL Draft Article.
Filip Mesar Scouting Report Main Photo:
EDMONTON, AB – DECEMBER 30: Mikko Kokkonen #35 of Finland skates against Filip Mesar #15 of Slovakia during the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship at Rogers Place on December 30, 2020 in Edmonton, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)