As defenseman Mike Weber joked around with Buffalo reporters Monday, he had no idea the wheels were in motion to send him to Washington.
“Players like to pack extra clothing as it gets closer to the trade deadline,” he joked.
The “heart and soul” blue liner is the newest member of this historic Washington Capitals team. He goes from being on one of the worst teams in the NHL to the absolute best.
The Caps acquired the 28-year-old on Tuesday in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2017 NHL draft. The Sabres will retain 50 percent of Weber’s expiring contract, which carries a $1.66 million cap hit. His signing also gives the Caps 50 players under contract, the NHL limit. If they plan to trade for anyone else before Monday’s 3 p.m. deadline, they will have to dump a contract with the other team.
Weber has played his entire NHL career with the Sabres, being drafted in the second round, 57th overall, in the 2006 NHL draft. In his career, he has registered 53 points (nine goals, 44 assists) and 409 penalty minutes in 341 career NHL games. In 35 games this season, he has recorded five points (one goal, four assists) and 32 penalty minutes.
“He’s a passionate guy,” Buffalo head coach Dan Bylsma said. “He wears his heart on his sleeve as a person and as a player. That’s how he plays the game.”
It will be interesting to see where he fits on the defensive rotation for the Caps. His strong, physical presence is perfect for playoff hockey but the Caps already have plenty on defense. I’m predicting he will mostly serve as the seventh defenseman ahead of Taylor Chorney and serve as insurance in the event anyone goes down with injury at any point during the rest of the season and post-season.
Welcome to the team Mike!
By Christopher Johnson
Photo Credit: Getty Images