Report: Weber could miss next season due to injuries
Shea Weber's future is suddenly uncertain as he continues to deal with several ailments.
The Montreal Canadiens captain may not play in 2021-22 due to knee, ankle, and thumb injuries, reports TSN's Pierre LeBrun, who adds the Habs haven't decided whether to protect Weber in the upcoming expansion draft.
The Canadiens, NHL, NHLPA, and Weber are all looking into the longtime defenseman's medical status and its implications, according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman.
The soon-to-be 36-year-old played through the recently concluded Stanley Cup Playoffs with a thumb injury, which forced him to miss time at the end of the regular season.
Weber has also dealt with nagging left foot damage that previously kept him out of action. The 16-year veteran was originally projected to miss four-to-six weeks in February 2020, but he returned after just a two-week absence. Weber underwent surgery to repair tendons in his foot in March 2018.
Based on the situation, the league wants to determine the appropriate status for the blue-liner's contract, according to Friedman. Weber is on Montreal's books through 2025-26 at a cap hit of about $7.86 million, according to CapFriendly.
The team only has to pay out $12 million in cash due to his deal's front-loaded nature, but Weber's former club, the Nashville Predators, would be on the hook for a significant bill should he hang up his skates. The Canadiens' cap recapture penalty would be much more reasonable in that scenario.
Montreal could also place Weber on long-term injured reserve, which would provide the organization with financial relief while he's out of the lineup. However, the NHL has to approve of that designation, and those talks surrounding the gritty rearguard are still in progress, according to Friedman.
Weber helped the Canadiens make an improbable run to the Stanley Cup Final this season. Montreal named him captain in 2018-19, and he's played the last five campaigns with the Habs after spending his first 11 with the Predators.