You don’t hear too much about Mike Weaver as he keeps a pretty low profile, however when this guy gets on the ice, he knows how to make a difference. When describing how Weaver plays, it is simple: he plays solid defense.
Weaver has bounced around the NHL quite a bit being a part of several teams such as the Atlanta Thrashers, Los Angeles Kings, Pittsburgh Penguins, Vancouver Canucks, and the St. Louis Blues. On August 3rd 2010 Weaver, a free agent, was signed by the Florida Panthers. This year he is proving he is the real deal and showing he belongs with the Panthers.
While Weaver may not be a huge threat offensively, he sure does prove his value when it comes to defense. Last year Weaver ended the season with 2 goals and 11 assists for 13 points. With this season not quite over he has 16 assists, a career high, thanks to two Sunday night that led to two critical goals which powered the Cats to a huge comeback win over Ottawa. While he does not have any goals (yet) this season, he proves that he knows how to get the puck on net for his offensive teammates.
Standing at 5’9” he isn’t the biggest guy on the team, but his impact on the success of the defense goes far beyond his mere physical size. He can outhustle larger opponents to win the puck in tight situations assuring they don’t get the opportunity to get the puck on net. He also can really be a physical guy when he needs to be and puts his body on the line to block shots. While you might not see him making a fancy spin move like Brian Campbell, you will notice his day in and day out consistent play.
One thing that really stands out for me is that Weaver is rarely caught out of position. He knows where he needs to be in all situations and when he does get the puck, he makes good, quick, accurate passes. Coach Kevin Dineen definitely knows how valuable Weaver really is by putting him on the ice in critical situations like killing off power plays, which he is a master of, or during close games late in the third period.
Good news is Weaver signed a 2-year contract extension with the Panthers this season meaning Weaver Fever will stay here in South Florida!
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