We’re still three months from the season starting but already the Habs are getting hit hard on the injury front. The team announced that Shea Weber underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus and will be out five-to-six months.
Weber was already in the midst of rehabbing from foot surgery, one that had his availability for the start of the season already in question. At the time, the team wanted to get an evaluation on his knee done but needed to take some time following the procedure on his foot in March. Eventually, the evaluation was done which yielded a recommendation for an arthroscopic procedure in mid-June, one that showed that surgery on his knee was required. The team also noted that because of his foot surgery, they had to wait until now to perform the operation.
While this is bad news for the Habs, a pair of youngsters could wind up being the beneficiaries. Weber’s prolonged absence should provide an opportunity for at least one of Noah Juulsen or Brett Lernout to open the season in a regular roster spot. (It’s worth noting that Lernout has to go through waivers so he may make the opening roster even if he’s not in a top-six spot on defence.) If they look to add a right-shot defender in free agency now, the pickings are slim – Dylan DeMelo, Kevin Bieksa, Cody Franson, and Andrej Sustr are among the top available right-shooters on the open market. (Yes, pickings are quite slim…)
Weber joins a pair of wingers on injured reserve to start the season as Paul Byron (shoulder) and Andrew Shaw (knee) are doubtful to be ready for the opener. Both players are expected to be back around late October/early November. On the prospect front, Joni Ikonen is also out long-term after suffering an injury while practicing late in May. He underwent surgery in June and is expected to be out until mid-December which puts his availability for the World Juniors in question.