FeaturedMontreal Canadiens

Shea Weber’s NHL career is in jeopardy due to lingering health issues

Over the years, Weber’s punishing style has taken pieces out of opponents, but also himself. He has enormous pain tolerance, and, as teammates have readily admitted, will play through things others simply can’t.

Unfortunately, we could be reaching the end of that situation. According to multiple sources — Weber, the Canadiens, the NHL and the NHLPA are doing their due diligence on the captain’s medical situation and future.

In 2018, Weber had surgery on his left foot and for a meniscal tear in his right knee. He missed 80 games between 2017-19. He was limited to 48 games this season, missing the final eight games of the regular season with an injury to his left hand. His average time on ice per game was 22 minutes and 42 seconds — his lowest average since 2007-08. Yet Weber appeared in all 22 games for Montreal in its run to the Stanley Cup Final.

A three-time Norris Trophy finalist, Weber just completed his 16th NHL season. He has 589 points in 1,038 career games with Montreal and the Nashville Predators.

Weber would be a huge loss on the ice and in the dressing room for Montreal. But, from a league standpoint, what would be at issue is his contract status. He has five seasons remaining, at an average annual value of $7,857,143.

That deal, signed via offer sheet with the Philadelphia Flyers, was heavily front-loaded. There is $12M of actual cash remaining. Nashville, which matched and was where Weber played the next four years, would have a “cap recapture” penalty of slightly more than $4.9M per season through 2025-26 if the defenceman retires.

Weber’s medical history creates a very legitimate case for him to go on long-term injured reserve if he cannot play again. But the league must make that determination, and the process is underway. Weber, agent Kevin Epp, the Canadiens, the NHL and NHLPA declined to comment.

Montreal probably wants clarity before the expansion draft (although they could simply leave him unprotected), but it’s uncertain if the process can be completed at that time.

Weber, who will be 36 next month, played his 1,000th NHL game this past season and won Olympic gold with Team Canada in 2010 and 2014. Opposing forwards would be the only people who wouldn’t miss him.

Igor Burdetskiy

Igor Burdetskiy

Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & CEO at Hooked on Hockey Magazine
I grew up playing Ball and Roller Hockey day and night somewhat religiously throughout elementary and middle school. The two don't compare though when I lace up the skates and hit the ice. I live and breathe hockey beyond the perspective of "it's just a game" and I will gladly talk hockey for hours with anyone. Hockey is more than just a lifestyle, it's a culture of passionate people who make memories every time the puck is dropped. Hockey has not only helped me get through some of the hardest times in life but has created some of the best memories to date. Want to talk hockey with me? Shoot me an email: iburdetskiy@hookedonhockey.com and let's talk some hockey!
Igor Burdetskiy
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