BROSSARD - Every game is big for young gun Victor Mete, but Thursday night's contest against the Los Angeles Kings is extra special.
That's because it will mark the 19-year-old defenseman's 10th game of the season, meaning that his entry-level contract will officially go into effect when he hits the Bell Centre ice.
Mete credits partner Shea Weber with helping him reach this all-important mark, which only solidifies his standing on the Canadiens' blue line even further.
"I've been with him since day one. He's kind of showed me around everywhere, like even on the road, he's always including me in everything, being with the guys and showed me how to handle the league as a 19-year-old defenseman," shared Mete, on his 32-year-old counterpart. "Anything I want, I always go to ask him and he's always going to help me… I'm lucky that management put me with him."
Video: Victor Mete on his 10th NHL game
Needless to say, Mete has high praise for the 13-year NHL veteran's efforts to make him feel as comfortable as possible in the infancy of his pro career.
"I would say [that Shea] is kind of a big brother and a calming [influence]. I know he's got my back if anything happens," mentioned Mete, who has two assists so far this season. "He's always been there for me, on the ice and off the ice. I can't really ask more from him."
Fellow youngster Charles Hudon has made himself available to Mete, too.
"Victor and I have been together since the start because we're the two rookies here. It's always fun to hear the questions he asks me, because they're the same questions I asked when I got to Hamilton," said Hudon, who will also be making his 10th appearance of the season. "He still has a lot to learn, but he's learning from Shea Weber. He's working hard. I don't think there are a lot of 19-year-old players who come into the league and find themselves on the power play in their first year. He's doing good things. It's fun to watch."
Video: Charles Hudon on Victor Mete
Head coach Claude Julien has certainly appreciated watching Weber take Mete under his wing over the last two months and offer up some important guidance along the way.
"They're probably reading off each other much better. I think there's a level of comfort there," said Julien. "Those guys are good leaders, good people for young players. They make sure that they relax them and talk to them a lot and try and make the game as easy as they can for them. That move so far has worked well for us… It's a sign of good leadership."
And, the Canadiens' bench boss couldn't be happier to see Mete flourishing on the back end.
"He's one of those guys that's well-liked in the dressing room by all of his teammates. He's very respectful, knows his place and on the ice he continues to play great hockey," said Julien. "It's nice to have him on our team. He's here tonight because he belongs here."
Video: Claude Julien's press conference