Less than a week ago, Montreal Canadiens defenceman Shea Weber was competing in the Stanley Cup Finals. While Montreal were unable to bring the Cup back to Canada, they provided a good battle against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
With the loss still fresh in the mind of the Canadiens’ locker room and their fanbase, the organization was dealt another devastating blow on Thursday.
According to reports, captain Shea Weber’s career may be in jeopardy due to sustained injuries. The blueliner has been dealing with a possible career-ending left ankle problem and has had previous injuries throughout his playing career.
The 35-year-old from Sicamous, British Columbia has also dealt with a previous thumb issue, as well as a meniscus tear. The NHL released a list of injured players that are exempt from the expansion draft. Due to Weber’s medical complications, he will not eligible to be selected by the Seattle Kraken.
The former Team Canada defenseman has five years remaining on his contract, which he originally signed with the Nashville Predators. If Weber retires this off-season, there will be approximately $4.9-million of dead cap for the next five years.
Weber has played over 1000 NHL games between Nashville and Montreal. He tallied 228 goals as well as 589 points in his career. Known for his incredible shot, Weber is a 4-time All-Star and won the 2016 Mark Messier award, given “to the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice during the regular season.”
Weber played his junior hockey in the Western Hockey League with the Kelowna Rockets. In his last season of major-junior, he was named the Assistant Captain. That season, he won the Memorial Cup, won by the winner of the Canadian Hockey League.
The defenseman has also previously represented Canada on numerous occasions. He was two gold medals at the Olympics, while also winning gold at the World Championships, World Cup and World Juniors.
He was originally drafted in the second round (49th overall) by the Nashville Predators in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. On June 29, 2016, Weber was dealt to Montreal in exchange for P.K. Subban.
Before hearing about potential retirement, there were already rumblings about Weber missing the entirety of next season due to injuries.
Weber has spent 5 of his 16 NHL seasons in Montreal, racking up 146 points with the Habs. The Canadiens’ run to the Stanely Cup was the first time Weber had reached the NHL finals.
For the Canadiens, it will be interesting to see what happens with Weber. If injuries ultimately lead him to retirement, then the Canadiens will be missing a key player on the blueline. They would also need to name a new captain. Weber has been Montreal’s captain for three seasons.
Montreal currently has nearly $8-million in cap space but have pending UFA’s to sign as well. With the expansion draft, free agency and Weber’s future, it will be a critical off-season for Montreal.