AHAHEIM – After 10 years with the Buffalo Sabres organization, defenseman Mike Weber was traded to the Washington Capitals on Tuesday afternoon in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. He received the news on his way to lunch with teammates after their practice at Honda Center.
"I don’t even really know the feeling I'm feeling right now," Weber said. "You're going to Washington, you have a chance to do something pretty special there but Buffalo, I've been a part of this organization since 2006 and I want to obviously thank the organization and the management at the time and the management now for keeping me around this long.
"I can't express the life-changing thing that the city of Buffalo and the organization has been able to provide myself, my family. I really feel a part of the community and I've tried to do everything I could every time I put that sweater over my head, to bring whatever I had and to play hard and to do what my skill provided me to do."
Weber, a second-round pick in 2006, recorded 53 points (9+44) and 409 penalty minutes in 341 games for the Sabres from 2007-2016. He's been a reliable face on defense for the team this season, accumulating five points (1+4) and a plus-3 rating in 35 games and has been an impact player on the penalty kill.
It's that steady play, perhaps, that made him an attractive asset to the NHL's top team this season in the Capitals.
"Every year I've tried to come in with consistency and focus," he said. "This season I came in with a mindset of making sure, whether I went over the boards for 11 minutes or over the boards for 24 minutes or whatever it was on any given night… I gave everything I had to prove to the Sabres organization and to my teammates that I'm a solid player and to the rest of the League that I can still do this."
Weber was the longest-tenured current Sabre, having made his team debut at 19 in 2007, and along with Tyler Ennis, was one of the last remaining connections to their last playoff run in 2010-11. The Sabres matched up with Philadelphia in the first round, and Weber earned the primary assist on Ennis' game-winning goal in overtime of Game 5.
Without hesitation, he described that goal as his favorite moment in blue and gold.
"All I can think of was it was in Philly and the fans were going nuts and [Ennis] came up to me and gave me the biggest hug ever and then [defenseman Steve Montador] came up to me and gave me an even bigger hug," he said. "It was pretty special."
Weber said that, other than some "bloody faces and bumps and bruises," he doesn't have many connections with his new Capitals teammates. But he's already received welcoming text messages and leaves knowing that he'll have a chance to succeed.
"I wish the organization and especially the guys in the locker room the very best going forward," he said. "Hopefully they get a chance to do something extremely special here in the future … in the same breath I'm obviously excited to get to Washington and maybe have a chance myself to do something that's maybe only once in a lifetime. "