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Filip Mesar has his sights set on the next level

Shanna Martin

Last season, Filip Mesar had a taste of the American Hockey League, playing one game before going to the Ontario Hockey League with the Kitchener Rangers. He finished the season with 51 points in 52 games (17 goals, 34 assists) but as he prepares to return to the American Hockey League, he says those numbers don’t tell the whole story.

“After the World Juniors, I don’t think I played bad, I was just so unlucky. I don’t know what was wrong, I never had something like that before but it was a great experience and I’ll be ready for next year,” he said.

“To be honest I felt like I played way better after World Juniors, I just couldn’t score and couldn’t get any points,” he said. “That’s hockey. It was a new experience for me and now I’m ready for everything.”

“If we have him, that’s another player who is a high draft pick with a lot of skill, another player who’s going to command some ice time,” said Laval Rocket head coach Jean-François Houle. “I think the American Hockey League is a great place for them to learn and hopefully make the NHL.”

The World Juniors was a great experience for Mesar. He had two goals and four assists in five games as Slovakia took Canada all the way to overtime in the quarterfinal.

“It was something special. We were a really good group of guys, we were really good friends, I had a fun time, I really enjoyed and after that I felt really good on the ice. I didn’t get as many points as people expected but I didn’t play bad.”

“I felt better on the ice, I was so much more confident [after World Juniors]. I created so many chances we just couldn’t finish. It was a little frustrating. We had a good team  but we could have done better.”

Mesar said one of the biggest adjustments he had to make was that practices in North America had a lot more battles. It’s something he is now ready for as he prepares for his second year of camps.

“For Europeans, getting adjusted to the rink, the lifestyle, the language is a big thing, and maybe coming a year ahead is a nice thing to get their feet wet and now hopefully he can be ready for a first full pro season in North America,” Houle said.

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