Rabid Habs

What The Canadiens Will Face Without Mike Weaver

Habs' Mike Weaver

It was last Saturday that Mike Weaver was off of the ice and out for the rest of the game against the Dallas Stars after suffering a concision on play, due to a hit by the Stars’ own Ryan Garbutt. Weaver was also absent from Monday morning’s skate at the Bell Sports Complex and did not play Tuesday night’s game against the Vancouver Canucks. Mike Weaver has played and has been playing an important role with the Canadiens not only during the regular season but last season’s Eastern Conference finals as well and as a right hand shot, he’s given the Montreal Canadiens three right shooting defensemen for the first time in a long while, joining P.K. Subban and Tom Gilbert. During his 72 regular game split between Florida and Montreal, Weaver recorded a goal and 12 assists with 31 penalty infraction minutes, and even added four points in 17 contests in the playoffs. Weaver has made a name for himself by being an expert on blocking shots and killing penalties, and despite having a rough start to the season, it’s clear that he plays an important role and is a key element for the team which leaves the question: What will the Canadiens face without Mike Weaver on the ice? Let’s take a good look, shall we?

With the Montreal Canadiens having three right-side defensemen (P.K. Subban, Sergei Gonchar, and Tom Gilbert), the Canadiens are very well insulated against Weaver’s injury. Coach Michel Therrien’s new line-up changes that went into effect on Tuesday had been successful in their 3-1 win over the Canucks with the defence pairings consisting of Markov-Subban, Gonchar-Emelin, and Beaulieu-Gilbert. If Therrien decides to keep these line-up changes for Friday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings, there is a great chance that the Canadiens will be able to have a great amount of blocked shots despite Mike Weaver’s absence. However, there is one thing that the Montreal Canadiens always seem to face with struggle: penalty kill.

Mike Weaver is known for his powerful penalty kill and blocked shots. Luckily for the Canadiens, P.K. Subban has taken over Weaver’s duties which has seemed to be an improvement for the team. Subban’s shooting percentage is at 12.5 and his even strength assists are at 12, while Weaver’s shooting percentage is at zero and his even strength assists are at four, which is a huge difference from last season’s numbers. With fresh defence line-ups, top forwards (e.g. Max Pacioretty, Brendan Gallagher, Tomas Plekanec), and Subban so far being the strong point in penalty kills, the Montreal Canadiens have not only pulled themselves up to 10th overall in the NHL but their numbers have gone up 18-10-2, which is a big change from the last 10 games (4-5-1). Despite that amount of stress on P.K., you can’t deny that he has been doing wonders for the team this season.

So, what does this mean for Mike Weaver? It doesn’t mean anything bad, yet. The Montreal Canadiens are only 3 months into the regular season and with 4 months ahead of him and lots of practice before his comeback, Weaver is more than capable enough to bring his numbers up and bring his performance back to number one. Having a rough start to the season doesn’t make anyone a bad player. Take Dale Weise for example. Weise wasn’t one of the top players last season and he’s still not in the top three. However, during the last Eastern Conference finals, he showed off his ability to play as a top player and his start to the regular season has shown more success than his play last season, in which he only racked in four points overall (but to be fair, he was traded halfway through the season by the Vancouver Canucks, it takes time to get used to a new team).

Mike Weaver has a bright future as a Habs player and he is one hell of a defenseman, but right now as it stands, what the Montreal Canadiens will face without Mike Weaver are more positive opportunities both on the penalty kill and overall.

Find Jessica-Lyn on Twitter: @strucxtures