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by Erin Pollina / Buffalo Sabres
Mike Weber (Photo: Getty Images)
Mike Weber has had a tough year.

He’s had multiple injuries, shoulder surgery and a subsequent rehab he’d rather forget.

  Mike Weber at Dev Camp

But now, with all of that behind him, things are beginning to turn around for the 21-year-old defenseman.

Now all Weber has is something to prove.

As he takes the ice this week for Development Camp - the first time he’s skated since hurting his shoulder in February - Weber is hungry for the chance to make an impact.

“I feel like this is my year. This is it,” he said. “I’ve got to have a big one and make it count.

“I’ve been through the ‘should have been there, could have been there’ [stage]… Now it’s the last year of my contract. Now is the time to get it together.”

Weber made his NHL debut early in the 2007-08 season and played four games in two stints with the Buffalo Sabres. He was then recalled for the final 12 games of the year – pleasing both the scouts and coaching staff with a plus-12 rating and three assists.

It was a promising situation entering training camp prior to the 2008-09 campaign. But Weber became a victim of the numbers game as the Sabres acquired veteran Craig Rivet for the blueline through an offseason trade and Andrej Sekera became a permanent fixture on the roster.

I feel like this is my year. This is it. I've got to have a big one and make it count. - Mike Weber
But now, the depth has shifted a bit with the departure of Jaroslav Spacek via free agency and the uncertain future of veteran, and free agent, Teppo Numminen. While the acquisition of defenseman Steve Montador tightens the gap, Weber still sees an opportunity.

“I’m always motivated, but now it’s almost like I have a real chance,” Weber said. “I’m going to come into camp extra prepared, extra ready. I’m in tough company. There are some great defensemen in this organization that maybe can be there also. I just have to try to do something a little better, a little different and hopefully earn my spot.”

Development camp is the first step to getting there.

“It’s nice to come back, see all the boys and the coaching staff and all that,” he said. “I’m really just glad I’m on the ice again.

“I’m definitely 100 percent now, done with rehab, so I’m really turning it up and going full throttle... I think I can be one of the more physical guys… I take care of my own end first and make good decisions.”

Now he just has to prove it.

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