The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed defenseman Yannick Weber to a one-year, two-way contract work $750K. The move comes as the team’s injuries continue to pile-up on the back-end. The transaction is yet to be finalized as the defenseman will need to clear waivers before he can be added to the team roster.
Weber is a former Montreal Canadiens third-round pick (73rd overall) who has appeared in NHL games for 12 seasons now. The 32-year-old is a puck-moving defenseman and an exceptional skater who is not afraid to take risks and jump into the play. He saw immense offensive success in the OHL, AHL, and Swiss-A leagues, however, he has struggled to translate that success at the NHL level. His best offensive season came in 2014-15 for the Vancouver Canucks where he tallied 21 points in 65 games but has since seen a steep decline in production.
The Swiss-international, pending waivers, will be joining his fourth NHL team in his career as he has appeared for the Montreal Canadiens, Vancouver Canucks, and most recently, the Nashville Predators, where he has spent the past four seasons. The Preds did not re-sign him this past offseason after he tallied just three points in 41 games.
The Penguins are already without defensemen Mike Matheson, Marcus Pettersson, and Juuso Riikola, and could potentially be without key defenseman Brian Dumoulin who is still being evaluated for a lower-body injury. The team’s back-end is looking very thin, already calling upon Cody Ceci, Chad Ruhwedel, and rookie Pierre-Olivier Joseph to log important minutes. Fortunately, the Pens have managed to work with what they have and see themselves sitting with nine points through seven games played. However, the need for some more veteran insurance has become increasingly necessary.
Adding Weber will provide the Pens with some much-needed experience and depth on the blueline, as the 5’11 d-man has appeared in 497 NHL games and has tallied 94 career points. For a league-minimum deal, he could prove to be a bargain and a very useful player on a risk-free contract.