The Montreal Canadiens have inked one of their most recent draft picks, coming to terms Monday with Victor Mete on a three-year, entry-level contract that will begin in 2017-18. Mete will stay with the London Knights for the time being as they are locked in a battle with the Windsor Spitfires in the first round of the OHL playoffs.
Mete broke out this year for the Knights, scoring 15 goals and 44 points in 50 games from the blueline, jumping ahead of last year’s fifth-overall pick Olli Juolevi. While he’s not considered to have the all-around upside Juolevi possesses, Mete’s offensive game is just starting to develop into what the Canadiens had hoped for. Relying on his unbelievable speed and agility to recover, Mete often joins the rush and finds himself deep in enemy territory. He won’t be able to get back as easily on professional players, meaning he may have to tone down his attacking style at the higher level.
Developing that first pass out of the zone will be key for him, as he is sometimes a little too eager to carry it himself. If that time and space is taken away in the faster professional ranks, it will be interesting to see how he adapts. His coverage in the defensive zone is actually quite good, though he lacks the physical size to really lean on defenders or remove them from the puck. He’ll have to rely on his quick feet and anticipation more than anything else.
If the Knights are eliminated in the first round (the series is tied 1-1 as of Monday morning), Mete may find himself playing a game or two on an amateur tryout in the AHL. It is unlikely though that we will see him in the professional ranks next season, as he would have to crack the NHL squad because of his age. The AHL will not be an option in 2017-18, meaning London might see a 19-year old Mete quarterbacking their powerplay once again.