The bottom defensive pairing was a troubling area for the Nashville Predators all season, and Yannick Weber was in the middle of that weakness.
Yannick Weber has built himself a lengthy NHL career and has played 40 or more games in every season but one since 2010. He’s in his fourth season with the Nashville Predators, and is quite frankly clinging onto a roster spot.
The Predators defense took a major hit when they cut ties with P.K. Subban to make room for Matt Duchene. The jury is still out on if Duchene will be work out in Nashville, but it’s pretty clear already that Subban has been missed.
Now what does that have to do with Weber, who is mainly a bottom-pairing defenseman? With the departure of Subban, the Predators basically decided that they were strong enough to go forward with what they already had on the roster in terms of defenseman.
This clearly didn’t work out for the Predators and is a big reason why they hung around on the playoff bubble all season. Weber played in just 41 games and was routinely a healthy scratch as the team tried to shuffle around defensive pairings to try to make something work.
Weber’s time may be over
After four seasons in Nashville, Weber’s stint with the Nashville Predators may be effectively over. Perhaps the season picks back up and he plays in a few more games, but once this season is officially over he’ll be an unrestricted free agent.
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I don’t expect the Predators to re-sign Weber to a new deal, even if it’s a short one-year deal for a cheap amount. The Predators have to do something to fix their bottom defensive pairing, and the answer may not currently be on the roster.
Weber has now played 223 games for the Nashville Predators, managing a meager 24 points and never really standing out for anything more than just taking up space. I know that seems harsh, but he’s never seized the opportunity of getting playing time and making any kind of a memorable impact.
This season Weber struggled in his possession metrics (46.5 Corsi-for) and didn’t take advantage of the increased playing time on the ice of over 14 minutes per game. He had the chance to show he can be counted on in the third pairing role and didn’t deliver for the Predators.
Weber should end up finding a landing spot somewhere else in the league on a short-term deal to try to lengthen his NHL career, but I don’t expect it to be with the Nashville Predators.
YANNICK WEBERD, Nashville Predators
For what it’s worth, it wasn’t just Weber that failed to seize the opportunity on the third pairing. Dan Hamhuis didn’t play particularly well either in that spot, and Matt Irwin struggled even more and eventually was traded for Korbinian Holzer.
This answer to this problem isn’t currently on the Predators roster in my opinion. That answer is either in the AHL, on another team or is even further down the road by having to draft someone in the next draft.
You can’t give Weber another deal and have him take up a spot that someone from the AHL or another free agent could take and be much more productive in.
It’s time for the Predators to go on the open market to fix this area, or give the opportunity to someone from the Milwaukee Admirals. Either way, Weber didn’t do nearly enough to extend his time with the Nashville Predators past this current season.