SNAPSHOTS: Senators claim Victor Mete off waivers from Montreal ... Alex Formenton will finish the year in Ottawa

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The Ottawa Senators grabbed some help for their blueline Monday.

After dealing Mike Reilly to Boston and Braydon Coburn to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Senators picked up 22-year-old defenceman Victor Mete on waivers from the Montreal Canadiens at noon Monday. That was before general manager Pierre Dorion moved veteran Erik Gudbranson to the Nashville Predators for a 2023 seventh-round pick just before the deadline.

The Senators will need help on their blueline and Mete had fallen out of favour in Montreal. As a result of being only two hours away, Mete drove to Ottawa and suited up for the club Monday night.

“We checked with the NHL. He’s going from one bubble to another so he’s allowed to play (Monday),” Dorion said.

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That could come as early as Monday night against the Winnipeg Jets at the Canadian Tire Centre because Mete was making the two-hour trek down Highway 417 to Ottawa and he’ll give coach D.J. Smith another option on the left side.

He will become the first player in the history of the Senators to wear No. 98. and that’s the same number he wore when he suited up with Alex Formenton while with the OHL’s London Knights. The Senators want the opportunity to have a look at him and he does have NHL experience.

Mete had three assists in 14 games with the Habs this season but general manager Marc Bergevin refused to move him.

“You have a 22-year-old and we’re told he’s a good character person,” Dorion said. “He wants to get better at his craft. He skates well and he moves the puck. He’s the new generation of NHL defencemen, he might not be the biggest, but he’s definitely not afraid.”

FORMENTON HERE FOR THE YEAR

Called up from the club’s AHL affiliate in Belleville, Formenton, 21, won’t be going anywhere.

Smith confirmed that after speaking with Dorion the club will keep Formenton with Ottawa for the rest of the season. He went into the visit by the Jets with three goals and no assists in eight games. He has shown he can play at this level and it makes sense to give him the opportunity to play here so he can be ready for next season.

“Pierre talked to me when he got called up and he told me he was going to give until the deadline and then make a decision if we thought it was a better opportunity for him to finish the year in the American league or is he finishing enough and developing enough here,” Smith said Monday morning.

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“You want to make sure he gets enough puck touches and enough opportunity to keep him here. You don’t want to stagnate his growth. So we made the decision he’ll finish the year with us. We’re going to continue to work him and develop him and he’ll join our group of young guys here as we go and continue to get better.”

EXCITED FOR A CHANGE

Reilly welcomed the opportunity to get dealt to a contender by the Senators. The Bruins were willing to pay the price and that’s why Dorion accepted the deal.

Yes, the club would have liked to have kept Reilly in the fold but wasn’t willing to give him the term he wanted. The Senators have young defencemen in the system and didn’t want a long commitment. Sure, he’s been solid this year but that’s not what this rebuild is about. He had a career-high 19 points (all assists) in 40 games with Ottawa this season.

A big reason is Smith gave him the chance to play with Artem Zub and they were a good pairing.

“We’ve got a good group of guys in Ottawa here, and I think (Smith’s) doing a great job, someone who’s been huge for how it’s gone for me in the past year and a half. I owe a lot of the credit to him,” Reilly told the Boston media Monday. “You know where you stand with him, and I think that’s a big thing with confidence and just coming to the rink every single day.

“I thought things were going well here and want to take the momentum into Boston.”

THIS N’ THAT

A UFA this summer, Ryan Dzingel didn’t draw much interest from opposing teams and that’s likely because he looks comfortable with the Senators  Dorion said he’ll talk to Dzingel about a deal in the off-season. “He likes Ottawa and when I told him he wasn’t going to be trade I think I saw a big sigh of relief,” Dorion said. “There’s something to be said about players that want to be in Ottawa and have success in Ottawa.” … Expect to see G Matt Murray make the start Wednesday and Dorion spoke about the decision to hire Zac Bierk as the new goalie coach last week. Dorion thanked Pierre Groulx for his service, but felt the goalies needed a new voice. “We just felt, and it was a decision D.J. and I made, that it was probably time for a new direction,” Dorion said. “This is nothing on Pierre Groulx.”

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THE LAST WORDS

No, Dorion didn’t make some of the blockbusters he’s made in the past, but that doesn’t mean he felt any less pressure at this deadline. Owner Eugene Melnyk and Dorion are confident this organization is headed in the right direction.

“In this job there’s always pressure, and I love the pressure, there’s only 32 of us that get to work in the best league,” said Dorion. “I’m from Ottawa, and I’m proud I’m from Ottawa, and nobody here wants to build a championship team (more) and we feel we’re going about it the right way.”

bgarrioch@postmedia.com

Twitter: @sungarrioch

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