BROSSARD - Carey Price has one of the best seats in the house to watch youngster Victor Mete go to work. And, the All-World netminder likes what he sees.
That's good because Mete will be one of the Canadiens' defensemen travelling with the team to Buffalo after earning a spot on the 23-man roster for opening night.
The news was made official late Tuesday afternoon after head coach Claude Julien put his troops through an hour-long workout at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard.
"It's always a special time for a 19-year-old to be able to come in and play. You could see the smile on his face. He's enjoying himself. It's always fun to see a kid go through that, having done something similar myself," said Price, who made his NHL debut just two months after his 20th birthday in October 2007. "You watch him play and he's got a lot of confidence. He sees the ice really well. It takes a special person to be able to step into the NHL and play with that amount of poise."
Video: Carey Price on the impressive play of Victor Mete
Before learning that he'd begin the season with the big club, Mete skated alongside Shea Weber again at practice. Needless to say, the 2016 OHL and Memorial Cup champion was hopeful that he'd earned the opportunity to remain in Montreal and potentially keep that partnership going following a strong showing at training camp.
"Obviously, the work isn't done here," insisted the Woodbridge, ON native, who put up one goal and four points in five preseason games, while firing eight shots on goal and posting a plus-3 differential. "Hopefully, I can get another chance to be able to continue going on after today and I can just keep showing them that I belong here."
Video: Victor Mete on his immediate future
For his part, forward Charles Hudon was eager to find out his fate as well in the hours leading up to the 5 p.m. EST roster deadline.
"I don't really know what's going to happen, but I know that my parents are waiting for the phone call. I think they're refreshing Twitter every two minutes," cracked Hudon, before later learning that he'd succeeded in his quest to begin the year in Montreal, too. "I did everything I could to make the team, so we'll wait and see what happens. I can't really control anything. It's in their hands and I'm just waiting for the news."
With six games of NHL experience under his belt - three each over the last two seasons - the 23-year-old Alma native is well aware of what awaits beginning on Thursday night in Western New York, and he's keen on capitalizing on the prime opportunity the Canadiens have given him.
Video: Charles Hudon on continuing to learn and improve
"It's a dream come true to be here with the Canadiens, so I really have to make the most of every chance I get," stressed Hudon, who skated on a line with Tomas Plekanec and Artturi Lehkonen again on Tuesday. "Since I was a kid, I'd always looked forward to playing preseason games and now there aren't any left and I'm still here. It's a tough feeling to explain."
Jacob De La Rose, meanwhile, was also given the nod to ply his trade in the NHL ranks to start the season. The 22-year-old Swede is adamant that a renewed sense of confidence has a lot to do with his accomplishing his goal of securing a coveted roster spot this time around.
"I think a lot of it has to do with confidence. I didn't become a different player overnight. I keep working on things and try to play with more confidence and get more involved," mentioned De La Rose, who is coming off a two-goal performance against the Ottawa Senators in the preseason finale over the weekend. "I talked a lot of with Sylvain Lefebvre, the coach down in St. John's last year. He told me to do more of that stuff, like skate with the puck and not to think too much out there."
De La Rose has amassed four goals and seven points in 64 career outings for the Canadiens, but was held without a point in nine appearances last year. His time in Newfoundland, though, proved extra productive, especially during the final two months of the year when he lit the lamp 11 times in 24 games to close out the regular season.
Video: Jacob De La Rose on his confidence level right now
"For every year that goes by, you gain experience and I think it was a good second half for me last year. I played a lot of minutes, playing over 20 minutes every night and it gave me some confidence," added the former second-round pick - 34th overall - back in 2013. "I got to play on the power play, and I'm trying to bring that confidence into this year."