Over the past few seasons, the Jackets have steadily improved their skill and depth on defense through various means, whether by trade, free agent signing, or the draft. One of the players acquired via the entry draft was Will Weber, who just completed his collegiate career at Miami. He was good enough to do an interview with me, and without further ado, here's the transcript:
MM: Right off the bat, congratulations on completing an excellent career at Miami and signing your first pro contract. What was the highlight of your collegiate career with the Redhawks?
WW: There were a lot of great times during my four years at Miami. We won many games and had some great successes, which really made it fun. Participating in two Frozen Fours, including a national championship game, and winning Miami's first ever CCHA Playoff championship were some of the main highlights.
MM: You were co-captain of the Redhawks this past season, what kind of leader were you for your squad? Rah-rah? Lead by example?
WW: I think my teammates would say that I lead by example. I'm not a guy that's going to give a big speech before a game but if something needs to be said, I have no problem voicing my opinion. I always made an effort to be a leader both on and off the ice.
MM: What was going through your mind before your first professional game with the Falcons, and what were you able to take from your brief experience in Springfield?
WW: Overall, being in Springfield was a great experience. I was really happy that I was able to make it out there for the last two games of the season. I'll admit that I was a little nervous before my first professional game, but once I was able to calm my nerves I felt pretty good and learned a lot in the short time I was there. The guys on the team were great and the coaches helped me feel comfortable in my adjustment. It was an awesome time and it really motivated me even more to work hard and be successful at the pro level.
MM: You've told us before that Bobby Orr is your hockey idol. Is there a player currently in the NHL that you model your game after, or would compare your playing style to?
WW: I believe that I'll be successful at the next level being a defensive minded d-man. I like to play a physical in your face type game. I would compare my mindset to a guy like Chris Pronger because he likes to be tough in his own end, and be a real pain to play against.
MM: What do the Jackets expect from you leading up to training camp in the fall?
WW: They expect me to play how I've played in the past- to be a solid d-man that the other team doesn't want to play against. I know I can be that player and I hope to exceed all expectations going into next year.
MM: What are your plans for the offseason?
WW: I'm really excited about the upcoming months. I'm going back to school the first six weeks of summer to work out with the guys still on the team at Miami, and also take the last few credits required to officially get my degree. After that my plans aren't set in stone, but I hope to spend as much time in Columbus and train with some of the guys that will be there this summer. I think that will give me the best opportunity to be in great shape going into camp.
MM: Give us your pick for Stanley Cup Winner!
WW: It's a tough call. This year's playoffs have been really exciting. There are a few teams that have gotten pretty hot down the stretch but if I were to pick I would go with the Philadelphia Flyers, they are a real solid team. My underdog team would be the LA Kings, especially since they have a former Miami d-man Alex Martinez.