The Montreal Canadiens added another defenceman with their fourth-round selection, taking Victor Mete from the Memorial Cup champion London Knights at 100th overall.
Like William Bitten before him, Mete is an undersized player who probably should have been taken earlier in the draft. Nearly all scouting outlets had Mete as a third-round player, with a few placing him toward the latter end of the second round.
Mete finished the year as London’s second-highest-scoring defenceman, putting up just four fewer points than fifth-overall selection Olli Juolevi. The majority of those points were assists, obtained by setting up the skilled forwards on the best junior team in Canada this season.
He has good vision in the offensive zone, though he sometimes tries to make a play that simply isn’t available, and can get in trouble as a result.
Luckily, he has great speed to cover his mistakes, and can quickly recover into a defensive position if his offensive plays go awry. On defence, even though he’s not very big, at just under 5’10", he does throw around what weight he has to separate his check from the puck.
He also uses that speed to join the offensive rush at any opportunity, and his puck-handling abilities allow him to be a good option to set up a play on an odd-man rush.
His physical play may not transfer to the NHL, where he will face much larger competition than he’s seen so far in his career, meaning his defensive-zone play is a question mark at the next level. He still has great stick work that he can use to thwart offensive chances, but that may not be enough to allow him to earn a spot in hockey’s top league.
What he could be is a good puck-moving option on a third pairing, with the ability to set up two-way players. He is an option to quarterback a power-play unit, though will need more time to remove the odd decisions he sometimes make when distributing the puck if he is to do so for the Montreal Canadiens.
Listed at 5’9.5’’, Mete is an unconventionally wired talent who is fearless and physically capable in his own zone unlike most his size. The ridiculously deep London lineup put an offensive cap on him at unfortunately the wrong time, but he was a steady competitor who helped stabilize the D unit.
Mete is a fleet-footed rearguard who plays an offensively inclined game, in which he is used in all situations and really excels with the puck on his stick. Offensively, he has the ability to be a difference -maker with his creativity, although his shot could use some added velocity. He hits his targets with accurate passes leading them into open space and into scoring position. Mete reads the play very well and makes a well-calculated decision to explode with speed and join the attack or trail the play.
Hockey Prospect Black Book
Mete possesses elite level skating ability, which is the lifeblood of his talent. His ability to move laterally is probably faster than some players can skate forward. This creates unique opportunities for Mete, in partially open ice to exploit lanes and take the puck into the offensive zone. He will carry the puck deep into the offensive zone where he can be a little inconsistent with his decision making.
One of the best skaters in the draft. Mete provides an offensive spark from the blueline and a strong exit pass out of the zone, he’s at his best on the puck when he is able to let his vision take over.
Future Considerations: #54
ISS Hockey: #84
Hockey Prospect Black Book: #108
DraftBuzz Hockey: #83
Bob McKenzie: #75
There’s a lot to like from Victor Mete, who has several exciting abilities. He won’t be a candidate to take a top-pairing, or possibly even second-pairing role on the team, but it wouldn’t be fair to expect that from a player selected in the fourth round.
Mete is the second left-handed defenceman taken in the 2016 Draft, and helps to fill a weakness in the organization. Many were hoping Montreal would add one of the mid-tier defencemen available with one of the second-round picks the Canadiens held, so achieving that goal in the fourth round, with a player who has some legitimate skills, can only be seen as a good move by the team.