The Montreal Canadiens have traded defenseman Shea Weber to the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for forward Evgenii Dadonov, the team announced Thursday.
General manager Kent Hughes said in a statement:
"First of all, I would like to thank Shea for all that he has done for and represented to the Montreal Canadiens. Not only was Shea an exceptional hockey player who played through significant injuries in an attempt to bring the Stanley Cup back to Montreal, he was also a great leader whose leadership will have a positive impact on our team well beyond his time with us. I also want to welcome Evgenii Dadonov to our organization. He is a talented forward who has produced at all levels since the start of his career."
Weber has four years remaining on the 14-year, $110 million deal he signed with the Nashville Predators in July 2012. The Predators traded him to the Canadiens in June 2016 in exchange for P.K. Subban, who now plays for the New Jersey Devils.
Weber had spent the last five seasons of his career in Montreal, tallying 58 goals and 88 assists for 146 points in 275 games. He was named the team's captain in 2018.
Seeing as how Weber has a cap hit of nearly $7.9 million per year over the remaining years of his contract, it's not hard to see why the Canadiens traded him. Montreal finished the 2021-22 season with the worst record in the NHL at 22-49-11, and the Weber trade means that the team is committed to a rebuild.
That said, Dadonov is 33 years old and isn't going to help speed up Montreal's rebuild. However, he provides the Canadiens with more financial flexibility and he has just one year remaining on his contract at $5 million before entering free agency.
The Golden Knights initially tried to trade Dadonov to the Anaheim Ducks in March, but the trade was invalidated by the NHL because of a discrepancy in the status of his no-trade clause that prohibited him from being sent to the Ducks.
In 78 games with the Golden Knights during the 2021-22 season, Dadonov tallied 20 goals and 23 assists for 43 points.
While the Canadiens cleared freed up some money by trading Weber, they still have just $1,923,334 in cap space, per CapFriendly. That's not going to be enough to make any significant additions in free agency.
That said, the Canadiens own the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NHL draft and will be able to select a player to build around for the future. Selecting someone like Shane Wright, Juraj Slafkovsky or Logan Cooley will help put Montreal back on the right path.