28-Year-Old Defenseman – Nashville Predators
Yannick Weber Contract Information:
Signed a one-year, $575,000 contract with the Predators in July 2016.
Weber is likely to draw into the lineup Saturday in place of injured defenseman Anthony Bitetto (upper body) on Saturday.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
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At age 26, Weber enjoyed his best NHL season yet last year, appearing in a career-high 65 games for Vancouver and notching new career marks with 11 goals and 21 points. The 26-year-old is a power-play specialist who struck five times with the man advantage in 2014-15 and also added three assists. The 5-foot-11 blueliner averaged a modest 17:11 of ice time last year, but with the departure of veteran Kevin Bieksa, he could be asked to take on a larger role this season. The former Canadien has a blistering shot and could do some major damage if he sticks on Vancouverís top power-play unit with the Sedin twins and Radim Vrbata. While heís had his share of durability issues, Weber is emerging as a key piece to the puzzle in Vancouver, and he was accordingly re-signed to a one-year deal in the offseason. Likely lining up alongside Dan Hamuis on Vancouverís second defensive pairing in 2015-16, Weber could be in for his most productive offensive season to date as he plays for a new contract.
Weber found some success in his first season in Vancouver, recording six goals and 10 points in 49 games. His main value came on the power play, where he used his lethal shot to score three goals. Whatís most impressive about Weberís five power-play points was that he recorded them despite averaging just 1:34 of man-advantage time per game. With Jason Garrison now departed to Tampa Bay, Weber should land a permanent spot on one of the power-play units this upcoming campaign. The 25-year-old has offensive capability, but has never played more than 60 games in a season and will likely battle for a spot on Vancouverís third defensive pairing.
After spending the previous five years with the Canadiens, Weber signed a one-year deal with the Canucks this offseason. He flashed some offensive tools with the Habs in past seasons, but Weber was buried on the depth chart most nights last year, as he managed to appear in just six games. Heíll be in the running for a spot on the Canucksí third defensive pairing, but Weber is also just as likely to slide in to the seventh or eighth spot in the defensive unit. And that would mean plenty more healthy scratches in his near future.
Weber returns to Montreal for another season. His biggest asset is the booming shot from the point, which has landed him some power play minutes (four goals on the man advantage in 2011-12), but, he can be a liability on defense. He's in a similar situation as fellow Habs' defender Tomas Kaberle -- some offensive gifts but prone to misplays in the back end. With a lacklustre offense, the Canadiens can not afford to give full time minutes to guys like Weber, who will battle for one of the final three defenseman spots with Kaberle, Francis Bouillon and Raphael Diaz. His experience playing wing will be an asset when head coach Michel Therrien makes out the roster that breaks camp.
Weber was called up in December and stuck on the Canadiens roster for the rest of the season, playing in 41 games. Heís like a Swiss army knife for Montreal coach Jacques Martin, slotting in at defense or forward while capable of playing on the power play. It looks like his path to regular playing time will come as a defenseman and heíll compete with newcomers Raphael Diaz and Alexi Yemelin for a spot in the final defensive pairing.
Like Mathieu Carle, this young D-man projects as a top-4 defender and like Carle, he's at least one year away from making an impact. The Swiss citizen tore up the Ontario Hockey League in his two seasons there, racking up 96 points and 121 PIMs in just 110 games. Habs' fans have to love his combination of grit and skill. Think Mark Streit with a mean streak.