Former Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Weber was released from his PTO (Professional Try Out) Friday with the St. Louis Blues. During the summer, the 28-year-old defenseman could not find a team willing to offer him a contract during free agency. On August 24th, Weber decided to roll the dice and try to play his way onto the Blues roster.
He failed. Weber’s next move is uncertain.
Last season, Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan gave up a third-round pick (a draft pick which typically does not have much value) to acquire Weber from Buffalo. MacLellan wanted to add depth to his President’s Trophy-winning team just in case of injury during the playoffs. During the trade deadline, the price for experienced defensemen proved to be exceptionally high. So Mac made a deal for Weber. There were other reasons too.
“I try to give the coaches as many options as we can,” Capitals’ General Manager Brian MacLellan said to the media over the summer, explaining the deal. “That’s part of what trading for Weber was. I mean, did we need a higher-caliber defenseman? Maybe. But it was difficult to trade those off because you’re going to bring in a guy that’s going to jump in front of Schmidty and jump in front of Orlov and jump in front of Orpik. Or do you just try and protect your depth with a physical, stay-at-home, net-front presence guy for when you play teams like Philly or play teams like the Islanders?”
Over the last three seasons, Weber’s possesion numbers were awful, ranking 229th out of 232 among defensemen with 1,000-plus five-on-five minutes. Though it’s worth noting for context’s sake that Weber’s Sabres teams during those three years were very bad.
Weber played in 12 games during his stint with the Capitals last season — the most controversial of which was during Game Five of the Caps-Penguins second round playoff series.
Head Coach Barry Trotz chose to dress Weber over Nate Schmidt. In overtime after the Capitals failed to make a clear, Weber could not handle a loose puck and redirected it to Patrik Hornqvist for an easy goal.
The Capitals would go on to lose Game Six and be eliminated by the Penguins – the eventual 2016 Stanley Cup Champions.
Weber may now be out of work for good at the NHL level.
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