Yannick Weber, a pleasant surprise during the recent Montreal Canadiens' training camp, was quite disappointed when he learned that he had not made the team. After a fairly rough start in the AHL with the Hamilton Bulldogs (two points in his first eight games), the Zurich, Switzerland native has slowly turned things around. He now has five goals and seven assists in 25 games with the Bulldogs.
Primarily known for his ability to quarterback the power play, Weber's strengths are his booming slap shot from the blue line, his sound transition game, and his great on-ice vision. However, the 5'10'', 195 pound blue-liner lacks a physical edge and is prone to turnovers, as he likes to carry the puck through the neutral zone.
A third-round pick of the Canadiens in the 2004 NHL entry draft, Weber, a right-handed shooter, was told in training camp that he needed to hone his defensive skills and improve his zone coverage before permanently graduating with the Habs.
When Don Lever, the Bulldogs' head coach, believes Weber has matured enough defensively, he might recommend him to Bob Gainey when the Canadiens need help on defense. Lever is slowly giving him more ice-time and easing him up on the power play. Weber is currently manning the second PP unit.
Should Ryan O'Byrne continue to experience problems defensively and play as inconsistently as he has been recently, the Canadiens will be enticed to recall Weber to see what he can do in the pros. Moreover, Weber's presence could not hurt their dreadful power play, which is currently ranked 29th in the NHL.
I would not be surprised if he gets a phone call from Gainey during the Christmas Holidays...