Report: Shea Weber Won't Be Protected by Canadiens in Expansion Draft Due to Injuries

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJuly 15, 2021

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber (6) skates on the ice during the second period of Game 5 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup finals series against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Wednesday, July 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

The Montreal Canadiens reportedly will not protect defenseman Shea Weber, who turns 36 in August, in the expansion draft due to injuries that may cost him the entirety of the 2021-22 campaign and more, per Renaud Lavoie of NHL Network.

According to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, "Weber, the Canadiens, the NHL and the NHLPA are doing their due diligence on the captain's medical situation and future."

Friedman noted left foot and ankle injuries could cost Weber the rest of his career, but he also underwent knee surgery in July 2018 and played the most recent postseason with a thumb injury. The league is attempting to decide whether he will go on long-term injured reserve if he cannot play again.

His contract, which has five years at a $7.9 million annual value, is a key sticking point.

"That deal, signed via offer sheet with the Philadelphia Flyers, was heavily front-loaded," Friedmann wrote. "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 is a seven-time All-Star with two gold medals for Team Canada on his resume.

He has been in the NHL since the 2005-06 campaign and played his first 11 seasons on the Nashville Predators and the last five for the Montreal Canadiens. He helped lead Montreal to the Stanley Cup Final this past season, where it lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Weber is known for his physical style of play, but he has also gotten involved on the offensive end throughout his career.

He has nine seasons with 40 or more points, although he had just six goals and 13 assists in 48 games during the 2020-21 campaign.

While his future is in question, Weber is someone who could provide veteran leadership for the Seattle Kraken if Montreal doesn't protect him in the expansion draft.