BUFFALO, NY - OCTOBER 29: Mike Weaver #43 of the Florida Panthers falls into teammate Jose Theodore #60 as they play the Buffalo Sabres during their NHL game at First Niagara Center October 29, 2011 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)
Today, we check out two familiar faces in our countdown, Quebec native Jose Theodore, goaltender, and human brick wall Mike Weaver, defenseman.
54. Jose Theodore
Theodore is a 5'11" goaltender from Laval, Quebec. He went 32-42-8 in two seasons with the QMJHL St-Jean Lynx before getting picked up in the second round of the 1994 NHL Entry Draft by the Montreal Canadiens, with the 44th overall pick. He went on to compete for two more seasons at the junior level, with the Lynx (5-8-1) and the Hull Olympiques (60-25-3). He also made a one game stop in Montreal in February, allowing one goal on two shots and picking up the decision in a 5-3 loss to the Hartford Whalers.
In 1996-97, Theodore split his season between the Canadiens (5-6-2, .896) and the AHL Fredericton Canadiens (12-12-0, .898). In total, he spent parts of nine seasons in Montreal, He sported a 141-158-35 record with a .911 save percentage and a 2.62 GAA and 23 shutouts. He posted an 11-15 playoff record while with the franchise. In 2001-02, he went 30-24-10, leading the NHL with a .931 save percentage and an otherworldly 2.11 GAA. He was invited to his first All-Star appearance, and took home both the Veniza and Hart Memorial Trophies, awarded to the NHL's top goalie and most valuable player, respectively. Montreal sent him to the Colorado Avalanche for David Aebischer on March 8, 2006.
Theodore compiled a 42-39-5 record in parts of three seasons with the Avs, with a .902 save percentage and a 2.76 goals against average. He also went 8-11 in the playoffs with a .904 save percentage. After the 2007-08 season, he signed on as a free agent with the Washington Capitals.
In two seasons with the Caps, Theodore posted a 62-24-12, 2.85, .904. He then spent 2010-11 on the Minnesota Wild (15-11-3, .916, 2.71) as the number two goaltender.
Theodore joined the Panthers by signing a two year-$3 million contract on July 1, 2011. On October 8, he started his Panthers career with a 2-0 road shutout of the New York Islanders, stopping 27 shots. He went 11-5-3 through his first 20 games of the season, culminating in a 2-0, 40 save shutout on the road against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins. He added a third shutout on March 11 at home in a 2-0, 34-save win over the Carolina Hurricanes. He finished the season with a .917 save percentage, his best since his 2003-04 All-Star season. Considered "washed up" just a season ago, he ended up with a 22-16-11 record and a 2.46 GAA. He also went 2-2 in Florida's first postseason appearance in over a decade. His current contract runs through the end of the 2012-13 season.
All-Time Statline: One season, 53 games, 22-16-11, three shutouts, 1,502 shots faced, 1,377 saves, 125 goals allowed, 2.46 GAA, .917 save percentage, 8.5 APS.
53. Mike Weaver
Weaver is a 5'9" defenseman from Bramalea, Ontario. Undrafted, he played four seasons of collegiate hockey at the University of Michigan (163 games, five goals, 43 assists), graduating with the Class of 2000. The Atlanta Thrashers signed him as a free agent after he graduated on June 15, 2000.
The 2000-01 season would see Weaver spend the entire campaign with the IHL Orlando Solar Bears (68 games, zero goals, eight assists), helping the team to the Turner Cup with two assists through 16 postseason contests.
For the next three seasons Weaver split his time between the Thrashers (57 games, zero goals, six assists) and the AHL Chicago Wolves (169 games, seven goals, 24 assists). After the 2003-04 season, and prior to the season long work stoppage, he signed a free agent contract with the Los Angeles Kings.
While many took a year-long break, and others took their talents overseas, Weaver played the entire season in the AHL with the Manchester Monarchs (79 games, one goal, 22 assists). He stayed with the organization after play resumed for two seasons beginning in 2005-06 with the Kings (92 games, three goals, 15 assists). Prior to the 2007-08 season, the Pittsburgh Penguins signed him as a free agent.
Weaver failed to make the Pens roster out of training camp, getting picked up on waivers by the Vancouver Canucks. He continued his pattern of not appearing on the score sheet for the Nucks in 2007-08, notching one assist in 55 games.
After the season, Weaver moved on to the St. Louis Blues as a free agent. In two seasons with St. Louis, he scored one goals and 16 assists in 135 games with a plus-7 and 41 penalty minutes.
Prior to the 2010-11 season, Weaver signed a two-year, $1.8M contract to play with the Florida Panthers. He proved a durable blue-line presence for the Cats, appearing in all 82 games for the Panthers, one of four players to do so. On October 23, he scored a goal and an assist in a 4-3 win over the New York Islanders. He logged a team fourth best 20:48 ATOI on Florida's second pairing, scoring two goals on 53 shots and notching a then-career high 11 assists, finishing the season with a plus-1 rating and 34 PIM.
2011-12 would see Weaver again appear in every Panther game, one of three players on the squad. He averaged 20:20 per game, usually paired up with 21-year old Dmitry Kulikov. On October 22, Weaver collected two assists as the Panthers claimed a 4-2 win over the New York Islanders. He again accomplished the feat in a March 4, 4-2 win over the Ottawa Senators. He collected a career high 16 assists and a minus-2 rating along with only 14 penalty minutes. He would have led most NHL teams in least PIM per TOI, if not for Lady Byng winning teammate Brian Campbell (we'll get to him next week). Weaver did manage to score a goal in the postseason, in a game three road 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils. Late in the season, Weaver signed a contract extension that will keep him seeing red through the 2013-14 season for $1.1M per season.
All-Time Statline: Two season, 164 game, two goals, 27 assists, 29 points, minus-1 rating, 48 PIM, 8.6 APS.