Despite power-play prowess, Yannick Weber has to ‘contribute five-on-five’

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Yannick Weber has the kind of hard, accurate point shot that could help any team with the man advantage.

And let’s be honest, help with the man advantage is something Weber’s Vancouver Canucks were in desperate need of last season, when they finished with the fifth-worst power play in the league.

Just one problem when it comes to inserting the 25-year-old, right-shooting defenseman into the lineup — his five-on-five play hasn’t been the greatest in the 164 games he’s logged in the NHL.

So, how can Weber become a regular in a Canucks lineup that hasn’t had a lethal power play since Sami Salo took his hard, accurate shot to Tampa Bay?

Well, the answer is obvious.

“He has to show he can contribute five-on-five because he’s got to play that before he gets a chance on the power play,” said Canucks coach Willie Desjardins, per The Province. “We know he has a great shot and that’s a bonus for him.”

Assuming Vancouver is fully healthy and plans to dress six (as opposed to seven) defenseman, Weber would presumably have to beat out either Ryan Stanton or Luca Sbisa for a spot in the lineup.

Based on how things looked at this weekend’s training camp, if Weber doesn’t manage to get into the lineup, the Canucks’ first-unit power play could very well feature a right-shooting forward, Linden Vey, instead of Weber, with Alex Edler the lone defenseman and the Sedins and winger Radim Vrbata up front.