Beck Call-Up Raises Questions

By JD Lagrange – The Montreal Canadiens are struggling with injuries big time, as we’ve recently covered, and the Laval Rocket is being picked apart in the process. They have tried Anthony Richard and sent him back to Laval. Today, they have Justin Barron, Jesse Ylönen and Rafaël Harvey-Pinard in the line-up, all called up from the Rocket. Last night, the Canadiens surprised many by announcing Owen Beck as an emergency call-up from the OHL.

Beck, we will recall, was one of the last prospects to be cut at training camp. He had an excellent camp and many fans already had him penciled into the opening night roster as a NHL regular. So why should we be surprised that he was the one junior player selected to join the Canadiens, will you say? Well, he just wasn’t doing so well recently. In fact, his offensive production has been quite… underwhelming, to say the least.

On January 7th, Beck was traded by the Mississauga Steelheads to the Peterborough Petes, who paid a hefty price to acquire the Canadiens’ prospect. The Petes gave up Jack Van Volsen, Justin DeZoete, Peterborough’s second and third round picks in 2025, Erie’s second round pick in 2025, and Peterborough’s fourth round pick in 2026. But that’s not so much the issue. As we’ve covered in our weekly feature “In the System“, Beck offense disappeared after the trade and that’s a bit concerning.


In fact, Beck’s 0.43 points per game production since the trade is on par with Corey Schueneman and Jayden Struble, to give you an idea…

More deserving?

It seems like there might have been some more deserving prospects in the CHL to be called up, based on recent performances. As a measure of comparison, look at Riley Kidney’s production since being traded from Acadie-Bathurst to Gatineau.

Riley KidneyAcadie-BathurstQMJHL311431451.45
Joshua RoySherbrookeQMJHL322330531.66
Jared DavidsonSeattleWHL382534591.55
Cedrick GuindonOwen SoundOHL441736531.20
Filip MesarKitchenerOHL261115261.00

Of course, it’s not all about offense and there are likely other factors to consider, like position. Although Kidney is also a center, and Roy, Davidson, Guindon and Mesar can play both center and wing too. Proximity? That would then only eliminate Davidson, who is out West, from that list.

So why Beck? Is it possible that the Canadiens have seen something in Peterborough that they didn’t like? Has Beck taken some bad habits? That’s possible, but doubtful. Could it be his utilization that worries the Habs’ brass? Is there a philosophical conflict with Petes’ head coach Rob Wilson that would justify calling Beck up ahead of others perhaps a bit more “deserving”?

It wouldn’t be the first time that a NHL team gets involved with a junior team about the development of one of their young prospects. While not publicized, NHL teams pretty much dictate if a top prospect should be traded and where, in junior hockey. In this case, it sure seems like Beck isn’t fitting in well with Wilson’s system or style, based on offensive output since the trade, at the very least. Or I could be totally off here. Either way, it sure raises some red flags in this old hockey mind…

It’s the second time this season that Beck is called up somewhere in an emergency situation. We will recall that he was cut from Team Canada for the World Junior Championships, but was asked to join the team when Colton Dach (Kirby’s younger brother) got injured. Beck ended up winning Gold with Canada.

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3 thoughts on “Beck Call-Up Raises Questions

  1. I read somewhere, not sure of accuracy, that the call up can only miss one CHL game. So it may have to do with CHL schedule. Or could be Beck’s defensive reputation. Or both.

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