One of the new faces joining the Canadiens this year, Shea Weber, is certain to attract plenty of attention in Montreal this season. Brought to the Habs in the trade that sent much-loved P.K. Subban out of town, Weber will be thrust into the spotlight and an All-Star calibre season will be expected. The good news is that Weber has demonstrated he is that kind of talent – an All-Star, perennial Norris Trophy candidate and two-time Olympic champion with Team Canada. Along with his impressive resume, he brings along a cannon of a shot and a reputation as one of the toughest defencemen to play against in the NHL.
Up to now, Weber has spent his entire career as a Nashville Predator and was named captain of the team in 2010. Last season he continued his play on the top pairing with Roman Josi, forming one the most dominant defensive tandems in the league. He put up 20 goals and topped the 50 point mark for the third time in his career while playing in all situations for the Predators. The club made it to the second round of the playoffs only to be eliminated by the Sharks in seven games. Both Weber and Josi were clearly showing fatigue by the end of the series, with Weber averaging more than 27 minutes a game through two tough seven game series.
Season Stats: 78 GP, 20 goals, 31 assists, 51 points, -7 rating, 27 PIMS, 14 PPG, 0 SHG, 1 GWG, 189 shots, 25:23 TOI
5 Year Averages
(Because of the lockout-shortened season, we are prorating all of 2012-13’s numbers over a typical 82-game year.)
Coming into the 2016-17 season there is no player that will face more scrutiny and pressure than Shea Weber, both on and off the ice. Weber will immediately join the Habs’ leadership group that already consists of captain Max Pacioretty, fellow B.C. boy Brendan Gallagher and, of course, Weber’s good buddy Carey Price. On the ice Weber will slot in on the top pair on the right side, with the bigger mystery being who his partner will be. He will almost certainly see time with Andrei Markov, but we could also see him line up with smooth skating Nathan Beaulieu. Regardless, Weber will play big minutes every night, and will see a heavy dose of time on what will hop to be a much improved power play unit with the addition of Kirk Muller to the coaching staff.
Weber should be in line for a strong year where offence is concerned. He’ll play in all big situations and has a proven ability to get the puck to the net while boasting the best slap shot in the league. The still sublime passing Markov feeding Weber at the point on a Kirk Muller-run power play could be the stuff of fantasy hockey, and the Montreal Canadiens’, dreams. Given Weber’s strong health record, and the opportunities he’s sure to get, he can definitely be expected to be in the vicinity of 20 goals (with a bunch on the PP) and 50 points once again.