Yesterday afternoon, the Vancouver Canucks announced they had re-signed restricted free agent Yannick Weber, on a one-year contract paying him a little less than a million dollars. This marks the perfect time to cross off #68 off my Habs Numbers Project...
Drafted 73rd overall by the Montréal Canadiens in 2007, ahead of Alex Killorn (77th), Nick Palmieri (79th), Alec Martinez (95th), Linus Omark (97th), Matt Frattin (99th), Justin Falk (110th), Jamie Benn (129th), Jake Muzzin (141st), and Nick Bonino (173rd), he was a smart and safe pick for the Habs. He already has a better career than a lot of the players in the second round (though the Canadiens hit a home run with P.K. Subban at 43rd), and though just 25 years old, is already a two-time Olympian with Team Switzerland. He's also sported the red-and-white in three World Juniors and two World Championships.
Upon his being drafted, he moved to Canada to play for the OHL's London Knights, and helped them to a league championship. Following his career in Juniors, he was off to the AHL, where he made the All-Rookie Team and played in an All-Star Game during his two seasons with the Hamilton Bulldogs.
While still a rookie in the AHL, he played in three NHL playoff games for the Habs, registering two points (a goal and an assist); he would have to wait until 2010-11 to earn a permanent spot in Montréal, though, first as a depth player (41 games), and appearing in 60 games the following year.
It was always clear he had offensive flair, good foot speed, a fine first pass, and a booming point shot good enough to man a powerplay (and replace fellow Swiss Mark Streit in the Habs' depth chart), but it's his lack of strength along the boards - particularly in his own zone - and the fact that the Canadiens had a lot of players of the same type that ultimately drove the team to not re-sign him, paving the way for the Canucks to do so last summer.
Because he isn't all that physical, he was often in John Tortorella's doghouse and only appeared in 49 Canucks games, scoring 6 goals and tallying 10 points. However, I see a shift in play looming in the West, and his talents will likely be very sought-after soon, either in Vancouver or elsewhere.
This card, showing him wearing the Habs' red (home) uniform, is from Upper Deck's 2010-11 Artifacts set, and is card #AF-YW, part of the Autofacts sub-set. It has a sticker autograph, signed in blue sharpie: