It’s safe to say that, until he was traded to the Montreal Canadiens, Shea Weber was the face of the Nashville Predators. He’d been on the team since the 2005-2006 season, a total of 11 and a half years. He was the team captain and had been for the past six seasons. He’d been a fan favorite and a figure in the community. His play on the ice was consistently among the best at his position in the NHL, earning three Norris Trophy nominations as best defenseman in the league, as well as being a five time All-Star and two time Olympian. And now the time has come for Nashville to say goodbye.
Weber was selected in the second round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft and spent one season with the Milwaukee Admirals, the AHL affiliate of the Predators before being called up to Nashville to close out the 2005-2006 season. His first full season in Nashville was a good one. He racked up 17 goals and 23 assists in 79 games. He also earned a reputation as a fighter, frequently dropping the gloves with anybody and everybody. After only a few years in the league he was widely regarded as one of the best defensemen in the NHL and prior to the 2010-2011 season was named Predators captain. That year the Predators won their first ever playoff series (beating the Anaheim Ducks in six games), but lost in the next round to the eventual Western Conference Champion Vancouver Canucks in six games.
Weber was noted for having one of the hardest shots in the game, behind only Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins. Then, at the 2016 All-Star game (in Nashville as a matter of fact) Weber broke the record for hardest slapshot, shooting the puck at an astounding 108.8 miles per hour. During the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver Weber scored a goal, but due to the speed of his shot it busted through the back of the net and everybody thought he had missed until the rip in the net was discovered.
Weber was also noted for stepping up in big moments, especially during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In Game 5 of the aforementioned Ducks series in 2011 Weber tied up the game with 35 seconds to play. The Predators won the game in OT (the first playoff OT win in franchise history) and won the series on home ice the next game. In his time with the Predators Weber played in 763 regular season games during which he scored 166 goals and added 277 assists. He appeared in an additional 59 Stanley Cup Playoff games scoring 13 goals with 15 assists.
But now Weber, possibly one of the most beloved Nashville Predators of all time, has been traded. His love for the city of Nashville was matched only by his dedication to his teammates and the organization. He was not just a captain, he was THE captain and Nashville will miss him dearly. And while the fans are sad to see him go, they all wish him the best and hope he continues to play well.
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