Michael ”Mike” Weber is a stay-at-home kind of defender who plays a hard game and is very reliable in his own end. He is said to be a very good team-mate and he was quoted to be “Captain material if he had little more skill”.
Mike was born in Pittsburgh and played his youth hockey with the Pittsburgh Junior B Penguins. Weber was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the second round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft(57th overall).
The defender played in the Ontario Hockey League with the Windsor Spitfires and Barrie Colts, before signing a professional contract with the Sabres. He played majority of the 07-08 season in the AHL with the Rochester Americans but was called up by the Sabres on three different occasions, scoring his first NHL point in his hometown against the Penguins.
The rugged d-man signed a multiyear deal with the Sabres on July 5, 2011 and played his first full season in the NHL, recording 17 points(4G,13A) in 58 games. Since then he’s had some tough seasons with his team struggling in the lower ranks of the standings and his +/- stats have been as low as -29 in the 2013-14 season.
The minus part of Mike’s game, like with so many big defenders, is his speed and offensive skill. When the game get’s physical he is fine, but against fast and skilled guys he is in trouble sometimes because of his lack of speed and movement. Weber is also known to take stupid penalties sometimes which can hurt you.
How will Barry Trotz use him
The main reason why the Washington Capitals traded for Mike Weber was to bring more depth to the team’s defensive end. It’s always important to have a deep defensive core when you try to make a long playoff push and for that Weber is a perfect addition.
There is no reason to break up the pairings which have been putted together after Brooks Orpik got back but as the Caps fans well know from this season, injuries can hit the defense hard and it’s good to have depth in that department. Also when the Capitals will eventually guarantee their spot as the first place team in the Eastern Conference, they can give rest to the guys who have played big minutes this season and get them ready for the hopefully long postseason.
Then there is also the match up reason. Weber can be used against bigger teams instead of Dmitri Orlov or Nate Schmidt to bring more physical aspect and more stability to our own zone. The big defender is very good at blocking shots which is so important especially on the penalty kill where he will be very useful as well.
By Olli Syrjänen