While the Montreal Canadiens likely got the bad end of the deal, from the P.K. Subban trade in late June, Shea Weber is still an all-star calibre defenseman who will provide the Canadiens with solid play for the next few years. He isn’t Subban but he has other assets that can prove to be valuable for the Habs. The only question about Weber is that can he sustain his solid play until his late-thirties?
Why Habs Will Benefit from Shea Weber
While Weber may be exiting his prime and could be just a couple years away from a decline, he provides the Canadiens with a win-now type of player. The fact is that with the contracts of Carey Price and Max Pacioretty expiring soon, the Canadiens have a small window to achieve their goals of winning the Stanley Cup. In reality, the team’s window may end in three years right around when Pacioretty will be looking for a significant raise on his current $4.5 million contract.
Coming out of a disastrous 2015-16 campaign, it was clear that the Habs general manager Marc Bergevin needed to make a splash in order to make the team stronger. Earlier last week, journalist Elliotte Friedman told Chris Nichols of Todaysslapshot.com that he spoke to a player who said that Habs management thought their players were too soft. They felt that there was a lack of leadership once Price went down.
Friedman: #Habs player told me late in the season, ‘All the coaches here and the GM here, they think we’re soft.’ https://t.co/mePtDBmgwh
— Chris Nichols (@NicholsOnHockey) August 11, 2016
What Shea Weber Brings to the Habs
Weber brings some much-needed leadership to the team. After the season the Canadiens just had, not mention it was Pacioretty’s first year as team captain, the Canadiens needed some more leadership. That’s not to say Subban didn’t have the capability to be a leader as well as the elite defenseman he has become, but the Canadiens needed a true captain.
Weber is that type of player and can help Pacioretty become a better captain. Leadership will be key if the Canadiens want to win and turn their fortunes around. Right now the effectiveness between Subban and Weber is not significant albeit their different styles of play. That’s why Weber works better for the Canadiens, at least in the next few years.
He will help the Canadiens struggling powerplay. He may not have the skating ability that Subban has in order to create offense but his shot makes up for that. Weber’s shot is currently the league’s hardest. He scored 20 goals for the second time in his career last season, and 14 of his 20 goals came on the powerplay, tying him with Steven Stamkos for the fourth most powerplay goals. As for Subban he only had two powerplay goals last season. Therefore replacing Subban with Weber will make for a much deadlier powerplay than the one that ranked 25th last season.
Weber’s Physical Game
His 6’4, 235-pound frame helps Weber deliver punishing hits in his own end. His type of big hitting game may be fading a bit in today’s NHL but it still makes it hard for opposing forwards to play against. Mark Scheifele of the Winnipeg Jets says he’d rather have Weber on his team because of his physicality.
“He’s (Weber) just so strong. He can control a game. First off, his physicality is a huge asset of his. Every time he touches you, it feels like your bones are gonna crack — which is definitely a tough thing to deal with. He’s just a competitor,” Scheifele said on Sportsnet Fan 590. -Via Sportsnet.ca
Respected forward Jonathan Toews tweeted to thank Weber for leaving the Central Division.
Hey Webs good luck in Montreal thanks for leaving our division! #relief
— Jonathan Toews (@JonathanToews) June 29, 2016
With Price being prone to injury ever since Rangers forward Chris Kreider took out his knee in the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals, the Canadiens needed a defenseman who can protect him. Weber can do just that as he’s known for standing strong in front of his own net.
Weber can also provide the Canadiens with someone who can hold his own in a fight to protect his teammates. Last season, the team’s co-fight leaders, at three fights each, were Mike Brown – who is no longer on the team – and Nathan Beaulieu. Now with the acquisitions of Andrew Shaw and Weber, it gives the Canadiens more options in that department.
Why the Trade Works for the Habs
Weber has a reputation for being hard-nosed defenseman whereas Subban is more of a flashy defenseman. With the Canadiens wanting to be a tough team to play against the better option becomes Weber. He also gives the team more leadership in order to help them win the Stanley Cup within the next few seasons.