Sports Senators claim defenceman Victor Mete off waivers from Canadiens
Canadiens' Lehkonen tunes out trade noise and lets play do his talking
The highlights have been few and far between this season for Artturi Lehkonen , who has had to scratch and claw his way at times simply to be dressed for games. So it was a pleasant surprise when the Finnish winger played one of his best games Tuesday against Edmonton, scoring the Canadiens’ second goal and adding an assist, in the 4-0 victory against the Oilers . Coincidentally, or not, the performance came at a time when speculation continues to swirl over Lehkonen’s future. With the Canadiens tight against the NHL’s US$81.5-million salary cap, it has been reported teams are inquiring about Lehkonen’s availability prior to the April 12 trade deadline.
Victor Mete is now a member of the Ottawa Senators.
The Canadiens placed the 22-year-old defenceman on waivers Sunday and the Senators claimed him before the noon deadline on Monday.
In 14 games this season with the Canadiens, Mete posted 0-3-3 totals and was plus-3. He played 185 career games with the Canadiens, posting 4-30-34 totals.
The Canadiens selected Mete in the fourth round (100th overall) of the 2016 NHL Draft.
After being made a healthy scratch for the first eight games this season, Mete’s agent went public with a trade demand.
Stu Cowan: Math works in Canadiens' favour down the stretch
Are you ready for some hockey — lots of hockey? Heading into Thursday night’s game against the Senators in Ottawa, the Canadiens had 24 games left in this condensed 56-game NHL season. Those 24 games will be played over 41 days. Starting next week, the Canadiens will play four games a week for five straight weeks before wrapping up the regular season with back-to-back games against the Edmonton Oilers on May 10 and 11 at the Bell Centre. There’s Heading into Thursday night’s game against the Senators in Ottawa, the Canadiens had 24 games left in this condensed 56-game NHL season. Those 24 games will be played over 41 days.
“There isn’t an opportunity to get in the lineup,” agent Darren Ferris said at the time. “It’s best for both the player and the team.”
Mete was put in the lineup for the next two games before being made a healthy scratch again for the next four after that.
Merci pour tout, Victor. Bonne chance à Ottawa!
Thank you for everything, Victor. Good luck in Ottawa!— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL)
After the trade demand, Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin said: “First of all, an agent never decides the way we manage our team.”
Bergevin added: “For us, we have no intention of moving Victor and I’ve been clear with the agent.”
Mete was made a healthy scratch for the 24th time this season on Saturday night when the Canadiens lost 5-0 to the Winnipeg Jets at the Bell Centre. The previous game — which turned out to be his last with the Canadiens — Mete was benched for the entire third period of a 4-2 loss to the Jets last Thursday night.
Canadiens in complete command during easy 4-1 win over the Senators
The last-place Ottawa Senators have proven to be a thorn in the Canadiens’ side most of this season. Thursday wasn’t one of those nights, however. Montreal won its third consecutive game, defeating the Senators 4-1 at the Canadian Tire Centre. It was the second straight time the Canadiens have produced a thorough and dominating performance, after shutting out Edmonton on Tuesday. Phillip Danault and Paul Byron, two players who have struggled to find the back of the net this season, scored the Canadiens’ opening two goals before Corey Perry and Brendan Gallagher put the game on ice in the third period.
Mete is playing on a one-year, US$735,000 contract and can become a restricted free agent at the end of this season.
Paul Byron, who has been placed on waivers three times this season as a salary-cap move and cleared every time, was asked after an optional morning skate Monday about Mete’s situation before the defenceman was claimed by the Senators.
“Honestly, there’s not really much to say right now,” said Byron, who was claimed by the Canadiens off waivers from the Calgary Flames before the start of the 2015-16 season. “Anything can happen. It’s really hard to prepare for what’s ahead. I think his situation is obviously a little different than mine this year and a little bit more reminiscent of when I was in Calgary and put on waivers.”
Byron said he hadn’t spoken with Mete yet but added that his wife had reached out to the defenceman’s girlfriend.
“He’s a great young hockey player, great defenceman,” Byron said about Mete. “He could help any team … there’s lots of teams that could use a D-man like him and we hope he can stay because I think he can provide an element to our team that when he’s playing he does a great job for us. So we’ll see at 12 o’clock what happens and whenever the situation kind of happens I’ll reach out to him and talk to him about it.
“I think the biggest thing for him is just to stay focused, come to work, be normal, be prepared and when something happens it happens and you got to deal with it when it comes.”
Canadiens get shut out by Senators at Bell Centre .
The good news for the Canadiens is Carey Price was healthy and back in goal Saturday afternoon at the Bell Centre against the Ottawa Senators after missing the previous six games with a lower-body injury. The bad news started when Artem Zub scored on the Senators’ first shot on Price 3:03 into the first period. Things didn’t get better for the Canadiens after that and they ended up losing 4-0 to the Senators. Drake Batherson scored twice for Ottawa and Nikita Zaitsev added an empty-netter. The Canadiens actually outshot the Senators 23-15. Josh Anderson got the first shot on goal for the Canadiens with a backhand on Senators goalie Matt Murray 48 seconds into the game.