Though the Montreal Canadiens lost again at the rookie showcase in Buffalo, there were still some encouraging performances to take in. Falling to the New Jersey Devils in overtime, they actually fared better than one might expect, given that the bulk of the Devils’ lineup is expected to be on their AHL roster this season.
One who fared particularly well was Owen Beck, who had his second standout game in a row for the Habs young guns.
He was everywhere on the ice, maintaining his usual stellar defensive presence, and disrupting the rush of the opposition with his back pressure. He takes his 200-foot game seriously, and is almost always in the right place to have a defensive impact for his team.
Look at Owen Beck, yet again on the back check. This time picking a pass out of mid-air.— Matt Drake (@DrakeMT) September 16, 2022
This kid is always in the right place, always making the right play. pic.twitter.com/wOHujxyeEb
Offensively, he continues to show more than his stats in the OHL last year would suggest he’s capable of, getting his second goal of the tournament in highlight-reel fashion.
Beck and Riley Kidney had some serious chemistry going in this game. Kidney had a better game than he did against the Sabres on Thursday night, and did so on Beck’s wing. As I mentioned in Kidney’s Top 25 Under 25 profile, the wing might be the place where he could eventually earn himself a regular NHL role.
Again, Owen Beck making things happen. Dangle in the NZ, nice pass to get the entry. Kidney finds Heineman for a breakaway but it's stopped.— Matt Drake (@DrakeMT) September 17, 2022
Owen Beck might play some games for Montreal this year. pic.twitter.com/4vcPw1Nr9j
My second standout was Filip Mesar, who has definitely outperformed my personal Top 25 ranking of him thus far. He scored on the power play, acting as the bumper, and firing a quick shot in close.
Mesar has been very impressive through two games, showing slick hands, versatility, and a better shot than I expected to see from him. Should he be back in the lineup on Sunday again, he may get a chance to play again with Juraj Slafkovsky, who was held out of the lineup on Friday night. That combination was deadly on Thursday, so it seems a given that they’d use it again if both players are active.
Click the play button below to listen to my full thoughts on the game, and stay tuned for our final episode for the rookie tournament after Sunday’s game against the Ottawa Senators.