As expected, Victor Mete is on the move. After being placed on waivers by the Habs on Sunday, he was claimed at noon EST today by Ottawa.
Mete had been a regular for most of his first two seasons with Montreal, the first of which came as a junior-eligible player and it looked like he could be a part of their long-term plans on the back end. However, while he remains a high-end skater, Mete hasn’t been able to show much improvement either offensively or defensively. While a lack of size and strength hinders him in the defensive zone, he hasn’t been able to produce much at the offensive end to overcome that.
As a result, his role started to be lessened as last season progressed to the point where he was on the third pairing when he was in the lineup. That continued in the bubble where Claude Julien and Kirk Muller showed little faith in him to the point where he averaged just 12:30 in their summer return. All of a sudden, instead of Mete getting a long-term deal, he ultimately accepted his qualifying offer of $735,000, the first sign that a change of scenery was on the horizon as such a move created an ability for Mete to file for arbitration in the summer, a scenario that the Habs wouldn’t have wanted to go through.
After being a frequent healthy scratch early on this season, Mete’s agent went public with a trade request but GM Marc Bergevin didn’t want to part with cheap depth that early in the year. Now that the deadline is upon us and they’ve added Jon Merrill, Mete became expendable but evidently, there wasn’t much of a trade market for him.
It’s certainly disappointing to see Mete’s tenure with the Canadiens come to end with nothing in return but because of that arbitration factor, he was all but a guarantee to not be qualified in the summer so a departure was on the horizon. All told, the Habs still did well with Mete, getting nearly 200 games (regular season and playoffs) out of a fourth-round pick is more successful than most players picked that round. But now, he’s off to Ottawa to try to land his next contract.