Yannick Weber is stuck in the jaws of a familiar NHL beartrap. It loves to snap its teeth shut on lineup fringers, notably No. 6 defencemen and fourth-line wingers. The 25-year-old Swiss defenceman signed with the Canucks on the first day of free agency last July, believing he’d picked a good landing spot after the Montreal Canadiens opted not to offer him a new contract. The Canucks seemed like a good fit, as they’d just bought out Keith Ballard and had only five D-men slated to return (Chris Tanev had yet to sign, but was a restricted free agent). The Canucks re-signed Andrew Alberts in mid-August but it still appeared that Weber had the inside track on the No. 6 job. And they sent top prospect Frank Corrado, 20, to the AHL at the end of the preseason — so far, so good. Then, just before the regular season started, something happened. That something was Ryan Stanton — who was claimed off waivers just before the season started and has owned that No. 6 spot with his rock-solid play since the season’s start. Weber? He got into 10 games for the Canucks, but just two on the blueline. Once when Alex Edler was suspended and the other eight as a little-used fourth-line right winger. He’s just returned from a seven-game stint in the AHL where he was sent after a series of healthy scratches. “It’s nice to be up here, but if you don’t play, it’s tough,” said Weber, who has the solace of a one-way $650,000 ticket on his one-year, one-way deal. “It was good for me to go down there (AHL Utica) and show what I’ve got, play those seven games, 20-25 minutes a night, and kind of prove myself down there. It was good to get a feel back and find my game.” Weber has played 125 NHL games, so he knows the league well enough to understand it’s a business and one where the unexpected can turn plans on their head.
Weber just treading water with Canucks
Vancouver Province | Dec 11