Just over a week after losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup Final, the Montreal Canadiens have been dealt another heavy blow.
Montreal captain and leading defenseman Shea Weber will reportedly not be protected by the team in the upcoming expansion draft that welcomes the Seattle Kraken into the NHL. The 35-year-old blueliner has been battling through multiple injuries, including a possible career-ending left ankle problem.
Weber is the definition of a hard-nosed defenseman, so to see him succumb to his physical style of play is disheartening. He fought through a thumb injury that kept him out during the end of the regular season and went under the knife to repair a meniscus tear back in 2018, but these lingering ankle and foot issues might finally be too much for the Canadiens captain to handle.
The NHL previously released a list of injured players that are exempt from selection for the upcoming expansion. These players have either missed a significant amount of time or have retired before their contracts ended and this is more of a formality. Weber will be the 19th player on this list after disclosing his medical complications.
Another list that Weber’s name is on is the collection of absurd long-term contracts that were handed out under a previous CBA that are now subject to a cap recapture penalty if the player retires before the deal ends. Weber has five years remaining on his contract, meaning that the Nashville Predators — not the Canadiens because they didn’t sign the contract — will have to endure the fine.
If Weber retires this summer, there will be approximately $4.9 million of dead cap for the next five years — in 2022 it becomes $6.1 million for four years. If the aging defender puts off retiring for multiple years, the remaining dollars of the contract will be paid out but in a longer length than the existing contract.
— Adam Vingan (@AdamVingan) July 15, 2021
Under the current CBA, cap recapture penalties cannot exceed the amount of the initial cap hit, meaning that Weber’s existing $7.85-million cap hit will be on the Predators’ books until the $24.5 million is paid out — instead of all in one year like it was under the previous CBA.
Financial impact aside, this is one player that was feared around the league for his brutality against opposing forwards, and now it sounds like he will have to either retire or try and sustain some semblance of hope to come back.
Weber has played 1,038 games in the NHL between Montreal and Nashville, racking up 228 goals and a total of 589 points, while logging some of the toughest minutes in the sport.
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