The NHL trade deadline is less than a week away and the Washington Capitals decided to add some depth on the blue line a little early.

The Capitals acquired defenseman Mike Weber from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a 2017 third round draft pick. The deal was able to happen in part because the Sabres agreed to retain half of Weber’s $1.67 million salary. The Sabres will retain $833,333 of Weber’s salary against their cap for the rest of the season. The Caps also move Jay Beagle to the long-term injury reserve to clear some more cap space. Once Beagle comes off the LTIR then the Capitals will have to make a corresponding move to get back under the cap.

The Sabres have 20 draft picks in the next two drafts alone. The team has 11 draft picks in the 2016 Draft, but could have more depending on what happens before the deadline. The Sabres have nine draft picks currently available to them in the 2017 draft.

This was a depth move by the Capitals in getting Weber, who will most likely serve as the sixth or seventh defenseman for the team heading down the stretch. The defenseman has one goal, four assists, five points and is a plus three in 35 games played this season. He has averaged 15:55 of ice time per game and has 36 blocked shots. Weber isn’t afraid to be a physical presence out on the ice with 73 hits this season. He ranked first among Sabres players in hits with 917 since the start of the 2007-08 season.

Weber is known to be a physical defender, who has good size and strength. The defenseman can be trusted in his own zone since he plays a fairly simple game. He will also drop the gloves in defense of a teammate, if needed. Weber can play either side of the ice, which is a bonus for any defender. He also will block shots and has 666 of them since the beginning of the 2007-08 season.

Barry Trotz and the Capitals shouldn’t expect Weber to pitch in much on the offensive side of the puck. His career high in goals is four, and the most points he has ever scored in a season has been 17. His career best scoring streak is only four games long. The defenseman will bring his A game almost every night. Weber will also bring some more veteran leadership to the team since he served as an alternate captain in two seasons while with the Sabres.

If the Capitals suffer any injuries on the backend they now have a veteran defenseman that can be inserted into the lineup down the stretch.

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