Top 25 Under 25: #13 Yannick Weber

Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Yannick Weber has been around for awhile, but fans forget that he's still pretty young. Not every young defenseman can be dominant like Subban, but can Weber break out?

Disappointment is the word that aptly wraps up Weber's 2011-12 campaign. For the first time the offensive defenseman was expect to regularly be with the NHL team, if not always cracking the starting lineup after he became more or less an NHL regular in 2010-11.

In his NHL career Weber has only ever played against weak competition with a lot of help from offensive zone draws (career 56.5% OZONE%). But despite these advantages, Weber has not managed to keep his head above water, with a career -3 at 5 on 5 (41+/44- ) and a career 48.8 Fenwick %.

These lackluster results are largely due to how poorly Weber did in 2011-12. His 2010-11 campaign was quite promising, 19 GF and 17 GA, 54.% Fenwick in very soft minutes. Not a world beater by any means but promising for a 21 year old defenseman. He and Jaroslav Spacek made for a pretty good third pairing for the club in the latter half of the season. Removed from the support of a strong even strength squad and a quality veteran linemate, Yannick Weber cratered: 22 + / 27 - and 44.6% Fenwick percentage. For a defenseman playing the high offensive zone starts and low level of competition Weber did to put up such poor on ice results would put Weber amoung the worst bottom pairing defensemen in the NHL.

Weber_medium

Player Berkshire Cooper Peter Boyle Van Steendelaar Dahan Ives Boucher La Rose Rice
Weber 14 10 11 15 19 23 9 14 17 10

Weber was a divisive pick, with a trio of top 10 rankings but also a number of pretty low rankings. Personally, I had him ranked high based on cracking the NHL lineup and showing signs of being a contributor. It should be remembered that Weber's performance in lower leagues is as good as any of the prospect defensemen we are so excited about. In my opinion we shouldn't get too down on a player that is having some difficulty adjusting to the toughest league in the world.

82 game pace per league

OHL: 24.6 Goals, 71.6 Points

AHL: 17.2 Goals, 48.8 Points

NHL: 4.1 Goals, 23.5 Points

5 on 5

Min/G

QoC

O Zone%

GF

GA

Corsi

relCorsi

P/60

2011-12

11.40

-0.789

56.5

22

27

-10.6

-9.2

0.88

2010-12

12.29

-0.704

57.4

41

44

0.0

0.4

0.83

5 on 4

Min/G

Goals

Points

G/60

P/60

Team G/60

Team Shot Attempts For/60

2011-12

2.76

3

7

1.09

2.53

3.98 (8 of13)

89.1 (9 of13)

2010-12

2.31

3

12

0.55

2.85

5.56 (8 of 16)

86.7 (11 of 16)

On even strength Weber looks like he averages to that of a decent depth defenseman, but his last year looked like that of a player that didn't belong in the NHL. His powerplay work is decent but doesn't hold a candle to the play of better PP options the Habs have had one defense during the past two years in Subban, Kaberle, Wisniewski and Hamrlik. He seems adequate for a 2nd pairing PP role at least. Whether that is enough to keep Weber in the lineup is a fair question.

Strengths: Weber has very good offensive skills, especially a hard and accurate point shot, including good skating and passing abilities. He's a very good power play defenseman when he gets the opportunity, positing strong results when given the opportunity. His overall play with the man advantage is about equal to PK Subban's on a per minute basis.

He's also the best man in the league to beat Tim Thomas with a point shot. Unfortunately that apparently will not be a usable skill in 2012-13.

Weaknesses: Weber quite simply has not exhibited the defensive skills necessary to be a regular minutes even strength defenseman in the NHL. He's able to win one on one battles, but his position and defensive sense is off. He may have the tools to defend in the NHL but he's a long ways away from applying them. Last year he was annihilated at even strength last season, despite playing only a limited 6th defensman role. He was bad enough to make the list of the worst non-goon defensemen in the league last year.

Projection: If young Weber pulls it together he can probably be a decent 3rd pairing offensive defenseman and power play specialist. 23 is still relatively young for an NHL defender and he stands a decent still of developing into someone. He could even have 4th defenseman upside if things turn out well.

Or he could do even better. Defensemen usually take a long time to develop and Weber is only 23 (soon 24). He's not yet at the age where you can write him off entirely, plenty of top defenders were no one special at his age and Weber has been a potent offensive player in the lower leagues. You can't entirely rule out that he could be the next Streit.

However with Raphael Diaz above him in the depth chart and a number of good defensemen prospects coming up behind him, its a pretty fair question whether Weber will continue to be with the Habs or be moved to another team.

#14: Aaron Palushaj #13: Yannick Weber #12: Michael Bournival
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