27-Year-Old Defenseman – Buffalo Sabres
Mike Weber Contract Information:
Re-signed with the Sabres to a three-year, $5 million contract in June 2013.
Weber (knee) still does not have a return date set, reports the Olean Times Herald.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
A stay-at-home defenseman who provides a physical presence on the Sabres, Weber will also be looking to bounce back from an atrocious 2013-14 season during which he posted a minus-29 rating. The young Sabres are in for another tough season, but the roster has improved and Weber will be relied on to help block shots and kill penalties. His offensive abilities are very limited, having scored just one goal a season for the Sabres for the past three seasons.
Weber signed a three-year contract extension in the offseason and has solidified a leadership role on what will be a very young Sabres squad. He provides stability on the back end, and even managed a plus-3 rating last season on a team that bled goals against. Donít expect much offense though, as the 17 points he posted in 2010-11 will likely prove to be his high watermark.
Weber was one of several Buffalo defensemen to spend time on the IR last season, and his minus-19 rating in 51 games sticks out like a sore thumb. However, Coach Lindy Ruff has shown trust in the 24-year old Weber and the blue liner looks to be a central part of the Sabres' plans. Weber notched five points in 51 games last season.
Weber survived a trade scare over the summer when it was unclear if he would be sent to Calgary in the Robyn Regehr trade. But the Sabres and Lindy Ruff are very high on Weber who will enter the season at only 23 years of age. Any offense from Weber would be a bonus, but he is an integral member of the Buffalo defensive corps for years to come.
Early in camp coach Lindy Ruff declared that the team would carry eight defensemen, which would seem to cement Weber's spot on the opening night roster when the season begins. He figures to battle for playing time if he does stay up however, as he would be the seventh or eighth defenseman. The organization seems to think he does not need more seasoning in the AHL, but from a fantasy perspective, he is not worth a roster spot.
The Sabres are taking their team in a new direction which could benefit this 6-2 defenseman's physical style of play. Unfortunately for him, he's second in line to 6-8 first round pick Tyler Myers which means his playing time in the NHL could depend on whether Myers sticks with the team. Regardless of the amount of time he spends in the NHL this season, Weber is a fairly defensive-minded player who wont put up fantasy worthy stats any time soon.
Weber recorded a plus-12 rating in 16 games for the Sabres last season. He's good in his own zone, although not much of an offensive threat. We would have given Weber a spot on the Sabres' season-opening roster, but offseason acquisitions likely mean that Weber will start the season in the minors.
Weber accumulated 34 points (6G, 28A) and 172 penalty minutes last season in the OHL. The Sabres hope that he can grow into an NHL enforcer within the next three seasons.
Weber could be a second-line defenseman in the near future, but not this season. After being drafted in June, Weber will likely spend this year in the minors before making an NHL impact.
Weber was a somewhat offensive-minded blueliner in junior but he projects to play a more simple game in pro hockey. His work ethic and professionalism are top notch, and he already plays a smart game in his own zone. He'll punish the opposition and fantasy owners, too, if they pick him up.