2016 Canadiens Top 25 Under 25: #19 Victor Mete
An offensively gifted blueliner, Victor Mete cracks the top 20 in his first year of eligibility.
Victor Mete was part of a solid 2016 draft by the Canadiens and Trevor Timmins, selected in the fourth round, 100th overall. As part of a dominant London Knights team, he claimed the biggest prize in the CHL this past season, a Memorial Cup.
While playing alongside one of the top blueliners in the draft this past season in Olli Juolevi, Mete stood out in his own right. He collected eight goals and thirty assists in sixty eight games played, good enough for eighth on the Knights, and just four points behind Juolevi.
While it doesn't appear that Mete is in line for Team Canada at this year's World Juniors tournament, the big key will be increasing his offensive numbers in the OHL. Given his abilities, that doesn't seem like that lofty of a goal, especially given the talent that the London Knights will once again possess this season.
Mete and Juolevi will likely be back as the top pairing in London as they prepare to defend their OHL and Memorial Cup titles. While all eyes will be on the host Windsor Spitfires and Mikhail Sergachev, it would be unwise to ignore this offensive force in London as well.
Like many of the new prospects from this years draft, there was quite a spread among the EOTP panelists on where to rank Victor Mete. Cara ranked him highest at 15th overall, while Michel had him lowest at 33rd. The majority had Mete in their top 25, with only three ballots listing him on the outside of that range.
Top 25 Under 25 History
This is Mete's first year as part of the Top 25 Under 25, and coming in at 19th overall is a promising sign for the 2016 draftee.
Mete's biggest strengths lay in his offensive instincts, skating ability, and top end speed. All of these combine to make him an incredibly dangerous player for opposing teams. Scouts praise his skating and ability to move laterally, and for good reason.
Mete is a bullet on the ice, able to take off with the puck and leave opposing players in the dust with relative ease. His willingness to carry the puck benefits him greatly in this regard. He regularly leads the breakout from deep in his own end and create chances in the offensive zone for his team. Even if there is a turnover while he's caught deep, his skating helps him easily catch up to the play and get back into position.
With his ability to move easily throughout the offensive zone, he opens up chances for his teammates that other blueliners cannot, working everywhere from behind the net to driving to the crease. His passing, even in tight situations, is outstanding, allowing him to roam all over and still thread passes to open teammates for scoring chances.
While strong offensively, Mete is not without his flaws as a player, and the biggest critique against him is his size. Scouts have noted that larger forwards have little trouble driving to the net with him on the ice, using their size to back him down with ease. Despite possessing a good stick defensively his size causes him to lose battles along the boards and in the dirty areas of the ice.
He also doesn't have a heavy shot. He is capable of getting the puck to the net, but lacks that booming slapshot of many other defensemen. If he could add some more muscle and work on developing a more dangerous shot, he would be a more complete player.
While not without his flaws, his positives outshine any negatives about his game right now. Undersized defensemen are commonplace in the pro leagues these days, and with his offensive acumen he will likely carve out a place in the NHL when the time comes.
As for right now, Mete will return to London for another season where he will be relied upon to drive offense alongside Juolevi once again. Mete will be a crucial part of their offence, as he serves as a driving force on break outs and the power play. Realistically he's still two OHL seasons away based on his age, in that time Habs fans should look mainly for Mete to increase his offensive output, in addition to pushing for a spot on Team Canada's World Junior squad.
His offensive skills make him a highly appealing prospect in Montreal, something the team is in serious need of in the prospect pool. Based on his skating and offensive abilities alone, Mete should excite fans, if he can fine tune his defensive game he could become yet another Trevor Timmins steal.