What the Puck: Shea Weber never quite fit in with the Canadians

The former captain brought toughness to the blue line corps, but he did not become the new city sheriff laying down the law in his own area.

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And so ends the Shea Weber era in Montreal.

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It’s really quite anticlimactic. Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes late last week weber pierced – or more accurately Weber’s idiot contract – to the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for Evgenii Dadonov. It’s a win-win deal for both teams.

Without Weber’s $7.857 million salary cap, Hughes will have more room to trade in the coming months and is especially useful for CH given there’s a good chance Carey Price’s even crazier contract will end up taking up room on the Habs. long-term injured reserve (LTIR), something that seriously weighs down any GM. For Las Vegas, they’ll save Dadonov’s $5 million salary cap and presumably put Weber’s contract on the LTIR.

So what is it The legacy of Man Mountain in Montreal? The short version is that he never lived up to the hype that accompanied his arrival here after the controversial trade that sent PK Subban to the Nashville Predators for the Preds captain in the summer of 2016. It was supposed to be a trade. That would change the rules of the game. for Montreal, bringing in one of the most respected defenders in the National Hockey League, but he never moved the needle.

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He served as a landlord in his five active seasons as a Canadian, playing the team’s number one defenseman role. The first year, 2016-17, his burst howitzer from the blue line was a big factor, but opponents soon realized that the Habs’ power play had no plan but to return the puck to Weber and began to turn it off. .

He brought some toughness to the blue line corps, but he never really became the new town sheriff laying down the law in his own area. That was more management hyperbole than reality on the ice.

Ultimately, Weber’s problem in Montreal is that he didn’t help the team win anything. It was a win now trade, like all Marc Bergevin trades, and they kept losing with Weber using the ‘C’. In his first four seasons in Montreal, the team did not win a playoff series. In two of the four years, they didn’t even make the playoffs.

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His biggest contribution came during the miraculous 2021 playoffs, when the Canadiens reached the Stanley Cup Final in unlikely fashion. Price’s superhuman game was by far the main reason they got this far, but Weber was also a force to be reckoned with, along with center Phillip Danault. But as much as the rose-colored glasses outfit may not like to hear it, that race came with a bag full of asterisks.

It was awesome, but they were never going to win the Cup. There was the weird COVID-19 rules, there was luck, there was the Leafs choking the way the Leafs always choke, there was Marc-André Fleury screwing up and basically giving them a free win.

Also note that Weber had a lackluster regular season that year. So lovers will love, but the reality is that the legacy is not that stellar. Before you say it, I know Subban’s post-Montreal legacy isn’t all that stellar, either. He had two A-plus seasons with the Preds and then fell off a cliff. For the past two years, he has been more of a star on Instagram than on the ice.

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Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators and PK Subban of the Montreal Canadiens look on during the NHL All-Star Hardest Shot competition at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on January 30, 2016.
Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators and PK Subban of the Montreal Canadiens look on during the NHL All-Star Hardest Shot competition at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on January 30, 2016. Photo by Bruce Bennett /fake images

History will judge this trade harshly. Weber never gave any indication that he was happy to come here and I understand it must have been quite a hassle to get to town and he was immediately asked what he thought of Subban. The reality is that it was never a hockey trade. It happened because a bunch of small-minded dinosaurs in the team’s management ranks didn’t like Subban’s larger-than-life personality.

Avs and Habs: Two thoughts on the Stanley Cup Final and the Canadians. The Colorado Avalanche won those first two games for a reason: They made a more skilled and dangerous team than the Tampa Bay Lightning. We often say that the NHL is a copycat league, and hopefully that means GMs will realize you win with skill, not character and a great goalie. For this entire century, the Habs’ philosophy has been one of playing silly hockey and hoping the goalie can pull off a miracle. Now, there is a new management team that has already made it clear that it wants to follow the Avs model. That’s good news.

The other big news is that our hero Artturi Lehkonen is finally getting the respect he deserves. Sent to Colorado at the trade deadline for Justin Barron and a second-round pick, he has 12 points in 16 playoff games this year, including winning overtime to end their conference finals fight against the Edmonton Oilers. He marks the second year in a row that he has scored the game-winning overtime goal in the final game of the conference finals.

Just another good player unappreciated by previous Canadiens management who was never given room to grow.

bkelly@postmedia.com

twitter.com/brendanshowbiz

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