The Montreal Canadiens kicked things off on April 11th, the day before the NHL trade deadline, by placing defensemen Victor Mete on waivers. They also acquired Jon Merrill, a veteran defensemen, from the Detroit Red Wings. There was once a time where Mete was the youngest ever player drafted outside the top two rounds to the make it full-time in the National Hockey League. He emerged on the scene with Montreal in 2016-17 and instantly become a top-pairing defensemen with Shea Weber.
The speedy, puck-moving defensemen has had trouble getting his name on the scoresheet despite possessing the skills that are necessary to create offence. This season, with all of their blue-line depth, Mete became the odd man out and is believed to have asked for a trade earlier on in the season. Even with Ben Chiarot sidelined with an injury, Mete, from Vaughan, ON, has still not become a team regular. After being put on waivers, It is quite likely that he will be picked up given his cheap contract, untapped potential and age. With that, there should be no shortage of NHL teams interested. But now the question remains as to which teams make the most sense and are the best fit for the Canadiens rearguard.
Boston’s depleted blue-line core could use an upgrade during the final stretch of the regular season. The Bruins sit in fourth place in the East Division and are currently holding onto a playoff spot. Losing both captain Zdeno Chara and top-two defensemen Torey Krug without adding noticeable replacements was a tough pill for Boston to swallow. The offence generated from the blue-line with Torey Krug has been greatly missed this season, as well as the veteran leadership that Chara possesses. And while Mete obviously doesn’t the experience that Chara has, he could be a noticeable addition to the young Bruins blue-line. Mete adds skill offensively and is an excellent skater, who likes to create offence by entering the offensive zone and drawing opposing defenders in. Given a role where he can put more focus towards playing to his strengths, Mete could start living up to his potential playing to his team’s arch rivals.
New Jersey Devils
The Devils are an exciting young team to watch and have been clearing out some of their veterans ahead of tomorrow’s NHL trade deadline. A young team focused on speed and skill would love to add someone of Victor Mete’s skillset to their active roster. With Ryan Murray potentially on the way out after the team acquired him during the offseason, it shows the style of players that head coach Lindy Ruff is seeking for his hockey club. A skilled defensive defensemen like Ryan Murray has not been able to really find his grove in New Jersey, but someone like Victor Mete certainly has the potential to.
A young offensive defensemen who creates chances with his speed every time he steps on the ice would make a nice fit with the Devils current young system. In the midst of a roster rebuild, Mete would not have the pressure of a stage such as Montreal and would be given the chance to play his game without the factor of playing in a huge media market where his every move will be under a microscope.
Detroit Red Wings
While this one doesn’t seem as likely considering the Canadiens waived Mete after acquiring Jon Merrill, the Red Wings are another team who would benefit quite nicely from a player like Victor Mete. Detroit currently sits at the bottom of the league standings, and much like New Jersey, is in the midst of a rebuild. The hockey club’s leading scorer is Filip Hronek, who has 22 points through 43 games played. On a team who struggles to put up points, adding a defensemen who will be relied upon offensively and has the speed necessary to drive the team’s offence could work quite nicely moving forward for the Red Wings. Detroit is another team where Mete will have no pressure and will be given the chance to play his own game, which could be what he needs in order to gain back some confidence.
With a player like Victor Mete up on the waiver wire, every NHL club will surely be interested in him. Whether or not a team even has the room for him, he is a quality young defensemen at a cheap cost in a flat cap era, meaning that many teams will surely be keeping tabs on Mete approaching the 3:00pm deadline. Mete needs a change of scenery, and no matter where he goes, he will be looking to prove what he can do on the NHL stage. While some will argue that his development was rushed, he has not looked out of place with the Canadiens and is able to handle playing against the very best. But with the direction Montreal is leaning towards, he did not appear to have a regular place within the team’s plans, and overall, has not lived up to his expectations. He is a prime example of a player who needs a change of scenery and could surprise a lot of people if he is used elsewhere successfully.