Thursday, October 17, 2019

Victor Mete Autographed Card

Let's get a few things out of the way: Victor Mete is a good, young defenseman. The fourth-round pick from 2016 is in his third NHL season at just 21 years of age, playing a position where skaters hit their prime the latest - usually around the ages of 25-26 years old - and has been good enough to suit up for 127 games thus far, usually on the first pairing with Montréal Canadiens captain Shea Weber, facing the opposition's top six forwards.

He is a very good and pretty quick skater who makes a great first pass, and his shot is hard enough to make it to the net but usually better for deflections than an actual scoring threat, at least for now; he's been working at improving it all summer and will likely continue to do so for the next few years at least.

Defensively, although still learning the ropes at the second-hardest position a skater can have (centre being the first), he is good enough to make up for Weber's more-obvious-by-the-game lack of speed, and his skill and agility complement his partner's grit and toughness superbly in their own zone on most nights - they just have a hard time against teams that are all-skill-and-speed like the Tampa Bay Lightning.

It was a statistical anomaly that Mete hadn't scored a single goal in his first 126 NHL games, beating Mike Komisarek's old mark by four games. Komisarek may have been an All-Star, but he was a stay-at-home defenseman's stay-at-home defenseman; Mete is not of that ilk; in time, he will be a fixture on the Habs' powerplay.

So, yeah, Mete scored tonight, a nice goal from the slot that opened the scoring:

Since the Habs won 4-0, it was also the game-winning goal. It was the first time this season that Carey Price surrendered fewer than three goals, so he'll be glad the Western Conference's worst team, the Minnesota Wild, were in town to help him beat a shameful streak of his own, shooting a measly 17 times on the net-minder.

Mete's so good that he has suited up for Team Canada twice internationally, winning gold at both the 2015 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament and the 2018 World Juniors, where he was named alternate captain; card #53 from Upper Deck's 2016-17 Team Canada Juniors/Women set shows him wearing #28 at the former:
He signed it in black sharpie - tagging his jersey number (28) at the end - this summer at the Habs' practice facility in Brossard, on Montréal's South Shore. I told him that not only was he due to score early in the season, but Murphy's Law would probably make it that he'd get a hat trick while he was at it. Maybe he'll just net game-winners, the same way the Buffalo Sabres' Victor Olofsson is only getting powerplay markers.

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