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Mete: On cloud nine

Victor Mete started every day of training camp reminding himself he had nothing to lose

by Joanie Godin, translated by Dan Braverman @CanadiensMTL / canadiens.com

MONTREAL - You might want to consider playing the stock market if you were among those who predicted that Victor Mete would still be present at Canadiens camp with just a few days to go before the start of the regular season.

Thanks to his cool and collected demeanor and his stellar play on the blue line, the young defender has turned more than a few heads since the start of training camp. Take head coach Claude Julien, for starters, who played his cards right in pairing Mete up with Shea Weber right from the get-go.

The experiment seemed rather trivial at first. Questions were being asked about what place a 19-year-old had playing alongside a veteran of Weber's caliber. But Mete knew that he had "nothing to lose, everything to gain" from the experience - and used that as his mantra throughout camp.

"I've been taking it one day at a time, without thinking about the next one before the day is done. Every day, when I'd wake up in the morning I'd tell myself that I had to give it my all and that I had nothing to lose, that I needed to go out on the ice and do everything I could to stick around another day," Mete indicated after Saturday night's 9-2 win over the Senators, in which he scored his first goal of the preseason. "There were cuts almost every day, so it was about showing what I could do, every game, every practice."

Video: OTT@MTL: Mete taps home his own rebound for a PPG

Mete wanted to stay as long as possible; at this point, he can proudly say mission: accomplished there. Now, he'll have to wait and see if he was convincing enough to be a part of the opening night roster for Thursday night's game in Buffalo.

"He's done it all, for sure," Julien replied when asked if Mete had done enough to leave an impression. "He had a good camp and we liked the way he conducted himself, with lots of confidence. He's not afraid to do the things he did to get himself to this point."

Veterans on the team were quick to take him under their wing. In no time, Mete had learned a ton from the likes of Weber and Jordie Benn - lessons he'll be able to take with him for the rest of his career, wherever that may take him.

"I think I'm playing very well, I think I've been solid, but even if I get cut, I have to see the positives. I was able to learn a lot, obviously by playing with Weber and Benn, two experienced NHL defensemen who have been teaching me a lot," said Mete, whose Junior rights are owned by the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League. "Even if I get sent back to Junior, I can take what I learned from them with me, and hope to bring it back again next year."

Video: WSH@MTL: Hudon rips one-timer to cut deficit in half

"He's good, for sure," praised Weber. "We have a bunch of different players on defense and he brings his own set of skills. We'd obviously like to have as many options as possible, and he's a new one. He plays well, he plays with confidence and I hope he can keep it up."

Mete will have to wait a little while longer to find out if he'll be in uniform against the Sabres, but if he is, the Woodbridge, ON native will likely be able to count on the support of many friends and family in the stands, given that they'll only have to travel a couple of hours by car to get to the game.

If they do, he'll be able to introduce them to his new adoptive family - the Canadiens.

"I feel at home with them," admitted No. 53. "Everyone has welcomed me and has done a good job making me feel that way."

When he was drafted in 2016, Mete had to wait and hear 99 names get called before he was made Montreal's selection at 100th overall. Not even a full year had gone by since he had been cut from the Team Canada Junior squad. And now, he's in the running to make the Canadiens. Not too shabby.

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