Speaking for the first time since acquiring Weber, Capitals Coach Barry Trotz said he thought the trade was a “real good move” for the team, an insurance piece for what Washington hopes will be a long playoff run. He mentioned the Capitals’ physical first-round playoff series against the Islanders last season, when several injuries to New York’s blue line might have been the difference in the series.
“I think we’ve got a real good defense, and Mike will add to that depth,” Trotz said. “[General Manager Brian MacLellan] is putting things in place and hoping that we can do what we want to do and go on a little bit further in the playoffs than last year. It’s good to have depth. That’s an area that’s hard to fix if you get some injuries there, and we saw it firsthand last year.”
Trotz didn’t go into great detail as to what Weber’s role would be, but when asked how often Weber would even be in the lineup with the team’s three defensive pairs seemingly set, Trotz said “there’s no promises.” At the suggestion of needing Weber to get into some regular-season games before the playoffs, Trotz said he was “not even going to answer that.”
“I think he’s got to be a part of the team, and then we’ll play out the [possibilities],” Trotz said. “I mean, you know, hopefully, we’ve got 20-odd games left, and hopefully, we can go deep. Trust me, when you get into that other season, you can go as many as 28, and those 28 can feel like 82. They take a big piece of you, so yeah, there’s no guarantees on what’s going to happen. All I know is that we’re deeper on defense because we made the deal with Mike.”
The Sabres retained half of Weber’s salary, making his cap hit around a pro-rated $833,000. Washington retroactively moved Jay Beagle to long-term injured reserve because the addition of Weber put the Capitals slightly over the salary cap. Washington will need to clear cap room before Beagle can be activated, and on Tuesday, Beagle said he thinks he’ll be ready to play sometime in the next week. He’s expected to travel to Chicago for a game on Sunday afternoon.
The trade deadline is Monday at 3 p.m. Asked if Washington wasn’t done dealing because a roster move will be required to activate Beagle, Trotz deferred to MacLellan.
“That would be a better question for Mac,” Trotz said. “I’m just going to worry about the 23 guys that we have, so that would be a question for him. When Beags is ready, there will probably be more urgency on that issue, but that’s something that you can pull Mac aside and talk to him about.”