Washington Capitals Trade For Mike Weber, Key Move For Playoff Run?

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Feb 24, 2016 04:10 PM EST
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Mike Weber of the Buffalo Sabres
Mike Weber of the Buffalo Sabres skates around during warmups before the game against the Detroit Red Wings on Jan. 22."

The Washington Capitals have acquired defenseman Mike Weber from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2017 draft, according to the Washington Post.

The Capitals are currently leading the NHL in points, and the team was expected to add some veteran depth ahead of the trading deadline, according to Isabelle Khurshudyan of the Post. The Sabres will keep half of Weber's salary. Weber is considered to be a "rental player," as he will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

General manager Brian MacLellan described Weber as "a stay-at-home defenseman, who plays a physical game and is respected by his teammates." He is one of the most consistent shot blockers in the league, and he comes in with five points in 35 games played this season. Weber leads all Sabres players in blocked shots and hits since he entered the league in 2007, according to NHL.com stats.

Khurshudyan writes that Weber fits the profile of what the Capitals wanted to do at the trade deadline, which was to "add depth without blowing up the current roster." Weber likely will not play much unless someone gets injured, but he gives the team veteran depth for the playoffs.

The Capitals are looking like the best team in the Eastern Conference this season, and they are looking to make a deep run after some recent playoff disappointments. Washington lost in the first round last year against the Rangers, and the team has not made it to the conference finals since the 1997-98 season. Adding Weber should help give the team some versatility and depth moving forward.

Washingotn has had Jay Beagle on the sidelines for over a month with a hand injury, but the center is expected to return this week. Beagle is likely going to play on Friday against the Wild or on Sunday against the Blackhawks, according to Chuck Gormley of CSN Mid Atlantic. Beagle is set to return after being "cleared for contact" in practice earlier this week.

The Capitals are 44-10-4 this season and will next play against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night.

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