Victor Mete showed the Montreal Canadiens that he had talent from last September’s training camp, at just the tender age of 19 (he’s since turned 20 in the last few days).
Despite some doubts, I must make a confession. It turns out keeping him with the big club and not sending him to junior may have been the best move for his development.
In 49 games, Mete picked up seven assists and averaged nearly 16 minutes of ice-time per game. He began the year playing alongside All-Star defenceman Shea Weber and made few mistakes. He was also given power play time at certain points in the season and picked up some of his points with the man-advantage.
Oh, and, believe it or not, Mete also played a game at forward. It was a weird year.
The Canadiens loaned Mete out to Team Canada’s Under-20 World Junior Championship team over the Christmas holidays where he won a Gold Medal. The young defenceman had three assists in six games during the tournament.
Mete’s season ended on March 2 after he suffered an injury to his left index finger during a 6-3 win over the New York Islanders.
It can be debated that the Canadiens shouldn’t have been in the position to give Mete so much responsibility so early in his career. However, the team had no choice considering they lacked quality puck-moving defenseman and were in need of more reinforcements on the left-hand side. But he still held his own and the Canadiens did a great job of managing his minutes throughout his rookie season.
There’s still an offseason to go but unless Canadiens management does an extreme makeover on the defensive corps, there’s reason to believe that Victor Mete will have his place in the Canadiens lineup come October 2018.
Mete should have more of an opportunity to cement his place among a growing generation of small, but quick and skillful puck-moving defensemen in the league.
How do you grade Victor Mete’s 2017-18 season?
This poll is closed