Montreal Canadiens: Victor Mete Cut By Team Canada
The Montreal Canadiens had three prospects at Team Canada’s world Junior evaluation camp. That number was reduced by one when Victor Mete was sent back to the London Knights today.
The Montreal Canadiens sent three of their prospects to the final evaluation camp for Team Canada in preparation for the World Junior Hockey Championships. The World Juniors are a holiday tradition that has become a deep tournament over the past several years.
For many years, you could bet on Russia, USA, Canada and Sweden being the final four in the semi-finals. Typically, Canada had a tremendous team, the Americans would be strong, but not as deep and Russia and Sweden would go from contender one year to underdog the next.
In the past decade though, Canada has lost its handle as the undisputed best team at the World Junior tournament. Suddenly, Russia and Sweden were avoiding any down years and Finland went from perennial also-ran to gold medalists.
In fact, Finland is the defending champ this year and won gold twice in the past three years. It adds some intrigue to the tournament again, and things will get interesting before the semi-finals.
However, there may be just one player of the three invited to camp suiting up for Canada. The tournament begins on Boxing Day and will take place in Montreal and Toronto. The Habs sent a goaltender and two defencemen to the camp, but are already down one prospect.
Victor Mete, a defender for the London Knights, has been released from camp after the first round of cuts were announced today. Mete was let go with Nick Merkley, a first round pick of the Arizona Coyotes, Brett Howden a first rounder by the Tampa Bay Lightning and Austin Wagner, a L.A. Kings prospect.
Mete was a bit of a long shot to make Team Canada. First of all, he is an 18 year old, so he is an underager at this event. Most of the team, especially the group of defenders will consist of 19 year olds.
Also, Mete was a fourth round pick by the Habs, while most of the other nine denfencemen still in camp are first or second round picks. The fact Mete earned an invitation to the camp after being selected 100th overall in last June’s draft is a testament to how well he is playing this season.
The 5’10” defenceman has scored 24 points in 27 games for the Knights this season. Needless to say, the OHL powerhouse will be happy to have him back as they try to maintain their position at the top of the standings.
Michael McNiven also may be the odd man out. The goaltender signed a contract with the Habs after being passed over in the draft. He is playing well for the Owen Sound Attack this season, but struggled in an exhibition game for Canada.
McNiven allowed three quick goals upon coming on halfway through a game against University ALl-Stars. He settled in in the third period, but allowed three goals on just 13 shots, while splitting the game.
Carter Hart appears to have the inside track on the starter’s role and Connor Ingram may join him as the backup. The management team doesn’t have to make any final decisions until Christmas Day, so McNiven may have a chance to redeem himself during a trio of pre-tournament games next week.
Noah Juulsen, the Habs first round pick, looks to be a lock to make the team. The right shot defender sat out against the University team, and it was likely because he has nothing left to prove at this point.
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