A lot has been made of Victor Mete’s game in the last two years. He can skate like the wind, get into dangerous areas for scoring chances, and can do it all alongside Shea Weber on the Montreal Canadiens’ top defence pairing. This year has seen the young defender grow his total game, and it’s nothing to scoff at as Mete still holds a place at the top of the lineup, and has taken on a bigger role in the special-teams units. Against the Los Angeles Kings, Mete played arguably his best game in a Canadiens sweater, and not just in the offensive zone.
Right from the outset, Mete and Weber pushed the play into the attacking end, and from the draw it looked like Mete had finally scored his first NHL goal. The faceoff after an icing call was won back to Weber, who dished to Mete who fired a low shot that elevated past Jonathan Quick, but it was Brendan Gallagher pulling off that bit of finesse. He didn’t get the goal, but it was a primary assist for Mete, and a Montreal lead.
Then on a dangerous rush where Shea Weber was caught flatfooted, it was Mete coolly sliding into position, using an active stick, and defusing the potential scoring threat without any issue.
He’s a young defender, but it’s clear his time in Laval this year, as well as a season of mentorship with Weber and Jeff Petry, has paid off big time. Also worth noting is Claude Julien’s use of Mete on the penalty kill, further proof he’s growing, and this season is a massive step toward helping him become a long-term stalwart on the blue line.
Mete added a secondary assist later in the game on Weber’s slapshot goal, and he did it doing what he does best. He used his slick skating to plunge deeper into the offensive zone, keep the cycle moving, and forced the L.A. defence to try to keep up.
It’s a year of growing for a lot of players, and against the Kings, the spotlight was clearly on Victor Mete and how far his game has progressed.