Weber Finally Gets His Shot
It was two years ago that Sabres fans were talking about how dominant the youngsters Mike Weber and Andrej Sekera were to close out the 2007/2008 season. After injuries and depth quashed his chances at making it up to the team with his former partner, Mike Weber finally has the opening he needs to make his name in the NHL.
In the 2007/2008 season, Mike Weber stepped in to the Buffalo Sabres line-up when injuries decimated the defense corps. Joined by young Slovak Andrej Sekera, he quickly amassed a respectable stat line to close out the season – 3a, +12, and 14PIMS in 16GP with 16:40TOI. One of his assists he earned on Sekera’s OT GWG that kept the Sabres’ playoff chances alive. Yep, that’s right – he stepped in as a 20-year-old and played almost 17 minutes a night out of the blue due to injuries…and he was a +12 during that time.
Unfortunately, Weber could not build on his success from the end of the previous season due to sloppy play in training camp and a slew of injuries in Portland. Putting the 2008/2009 season behind him, he lead the Pirates’ defensemen last season with 21 points, a +18 rating (very nice), and 153PIMS in 80GP.
With the departure of Henrik Tallinder and Toni Lydman and the signing of Jordan Leopold, Darcy Regier made it clear that he would be giving one or two Portland defensemen a chance to make the Sabres this upcoming season. The strongest candidate to be promoted is Weber, especially following his stellar season in 2009/2010. He’ll face competition from Marc-Andre Gragnani, the Sabres’ highest-scoring defensive prospect in Portland, but the role that needs to be filled is Lydman’s vacated spot and Gragnani doesn’t play that game.
I’ve been following Weber for a while and it’s good to see the kid get his chance. He’s a big boy who plays a solid, stay-at-home game and he’s also good for a big hit – Sabres fans may remember when he killdozered Cory Stillman in 07/08: