The Montreal Canadiens added depth to their blue line by acquiring Mike Weaver from the Florida Panthers.
The veteran defenseman was picked up by the Habs for a fifth round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft. He has played 58 games with the Panthers this season, comiling nine points and averaging just under 19 minutes per game on the ice.
Weaver is not one of the biggest players in the league at 5’10”, but he is a pretty typical shutdown defender. He was the Panthers most used player in shorthanded situations and was among their leaders in hits and blocked shots.
Weaver’s 101 hits rank him fifth on the Canadiens roster, and his 94 blocked shots place him forth among Canadiens players.
Weaver is a right shot defenseman that will play on the third pairing with the Canadiens. He is 35 years old and in the last year of a contract that pays him 1.1 million per season. Montreal only gave up a fifth round pick, so there is no real risk in hoping to get a number six defender in return.
This only makes sense for Montreal if Weaver takes ice time away from Douglas Murray. Weaver is basically, a similar style but an upgrade on Murray who plays the right side.
That may not sound like much, but it would allow one of the Habs rookie defensemen to return to their natural left side in the NHL. If Weaver is on the third pair with Jarred Tinordi or Nathan Beaulieu, this trade makes a lot of sense. But, if Weaver is on the bottom pairing with Murray, I don’t see the point in making the deal to just take ice time away from Tinordi and Beaulieu when both have shown they are capable of handling NHL minutes.
There is nothing wrong with bringing in a veteran defender for pennies. If the Habs can find someone to take on Murray for even a fifth round pick now, they will have improved and lost nothing to do so.