49th Overall in 2003
The past week, Shea Weber has been in between a tug of war match with the Philadelphia Flyers and the Nashville Predators. It started when he signed an offer sheet for a 14-year contract for $110 million. Now that is a huge move and a big leap. To leave the team you captain and go to play somewhere else for the next 14 years is a lot to take in. With the Nashville management taking their sweet time to match Philly’s offer, they matched it and landed Shea Weber on their team until he is 40 years old. Talk about commitment. This is Beyond the ‘C’: The Story of Shea Weber.
Shea Weber was born into a normal family. His mother was a hairdresser and his father was a sawmill worker. He started playing hockey at 6 years old. He switched back and forth between offense and defense. He later situated in the defensive position because his father told him that he would “have a better shot at a pro career as a defenseman.” Somewhere between age 14 and 15, Shea grew a whole 5 inches (from 5’9” to 6’2”). I always want to grow. I am aiming to be 6’4” soon, so I need to ask him what he did.
On September 10th, 2004, Weber had signed his entry level contract for 3 years at $1.425 million. After about a year and a half, he made his NHL debut against the fierce Detroit Red Wings on January 6th, 2006. Although he only recorded 3 shots this game, he had 11:08 of ice time. He only played in 28 games during his rookie season, putting up 2 goals and 8 assists. He did however score 2 goals in 4 playoff games against the San Jose Sharks, who eliminated the Preds to advance to the next round. But Nashville noticed that Shea Weber could still help the team, even though their season was over. The front office sent Weber down to their AHL affiliate the Milwaukee Admirals. He scored 11 points and helped his team reach the Calder Cup finals, where they lost in six games to the Hershey Bears.
His sophomore year was the booming year for him. By the middle of the season, he had recorded 26 points. He finished the season with 40 points, being ranked 8th on Predators total points. He added 3 assists in 5 playoffs games, but was eliminated by the San Jose Sharks for the second consecutive post-season.
On June 23rd, 2008, Nashville signed him for 3 years at $13.5 million. He proved to be one of the best defenseman in the NHL and was a sure nomination for the Norris trophy. He finished the season with all career high stats. He had played 81 games with 23 goals, 30 assists, 53 points, and a whopping 80 penalty minutes. With 23 goals, he broke the record for Predators goals by a defenseman in a single season.
On July 8th, 2010, Weber was named the 5th Nashville captain following Jason Arnott, who was traded to the New Jersey Devils. On January 11th, 2011 he was among 42 players named to the All-Star Game. For the first time, the All-Star Game had inherited a fantasy draft where the two team captains pick the players. Shea was selected 8th overall by Team Lidstrom.
In the first month of the 2011-2012 season, he had a massive hit on Vancouver’s Jannik Hansen from behind, and was handed a $2,500 fine the next day. And who could forget the infamous hit on Henrik Zetterberg that Weber laid. This hit was the main reason for the rivalry in the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs. He also only received a $2,500 fine. That action led to the Game 2 fight between Shea and Red Wings’ Todd Bertuzzi.
Shea Weber Fact: He was in a You Can Play commercial like many other players. Here it is.
Dan Bradley is the editor for Predlines. I had teased him about Weber leaving to go to Philly, and he assured me he would be back in Nashville. I’m still waiting for the “I told you so’s!” With that being said, here is his piece on Shea.
“Shea Weber is the perfect metaphor for the Predators. He’s a bit of an overachiever, being drafted after Ryan Suter and Kevin Klein and the rest of a stellar draft in 2003. Weber grew, rounded his skills, and never lost his soft-spoken demeanor. He’s a quiet statesman, and off the ice he’s a true gentleman. On the ice, he’s a terror. There may not be a more well-rounded defenseman in the world. He’s physical, technically sound, has a shot that can shred the nylon, and a mean streak a mile wide.
By saying he’s a metaphor for the team; it’s true in many ways. Weber has been coveted by the entire league for the last few years, even since the slightest instability surfaced in Nashville. And like the team itself, Canadian markets have wanted to take him back to Canada.
I understand, I want the Tampa Rays to move here simply so I can see David Price work his craft every few days. Murfreesboro, REPRESENT!
So when the news broke about Shea signing the offer sheet to Philly, I relaxed. (Then panicked, but relaxed again.) This move is Paul Holmgren’s masterpiece. It’s on HIS terms, and terms that very few teams can match given the resources of Ed Snider. However, Nashville didn’t want to cause a fan rebellion and civil unrest, and face a lifetime label of being nothing more than an incubator, and matched the offer sheet which cements the Captain as the bedrock to which the team will be built for the next decade plus. Ain’t it great?
Shea is the perfect metaphor for the hockey club in Nashville. When the team was rumored to be moved, TSN and company overreacted. Tickets were sold. Promises were made. From the point of view of a Nashvillian, it’s yet another mark supporting that the hockey community will never fully accept that there’s a hockey team in Nashville, and not in Quebec City, or Saskatoon, or wherever above the Ohio River. And when Shea’s offer sheet came across the wire, this was one of many sites reporting his departure in past tense. No shame in that, even Darren Dreger sounded like he was going to bet the farm on Weber being a Flyer. It likely drives the folks in B.C. up the wall that the best player from that area applies his craft in Nashville. (Hamhuis? Not even close.) Shea is the captain, a Canadian export that calls this city home, and is one of the best in the world at what he does, much like the team he plays for.
He’s the man here, with Rinne watching his back. Weber was voted the Sports Person of the Year by the Nashville Sports Council for the year 2010. Why? He won a gold medal for Canada, was the best player for the Predators, and frankly, the Nashville Sports Council wanted to show they cared. (He even beat out David Price, who nearly won the Cy Young and started the All Star Game.) Kids fight over the number six for their jerseys, and his jersey sells quicker than anyone’s other than Pekka Rinne. (Ladies love them some Rinne.)
The future without Weber here was going to be murky. The team had to lock down the Captain, and now that they have, Nashville will continue to build towards a future aimed at playing some important hockey during June in the relative future, much to the delight of the entire region… and dismay to those who tried to dance on the grave of the Predators a bit too early. He’s the captain here, and get used to it.
Don’t believe me? Have some Brett Wilson.”
Shea Weber is exactly what Nashville needs. Each year they creep closer towards a cup final appearance. With his laser shot and his terrific goaltender Pekka Rinne, they will for sure win a cup in the next few years.
Thanks for stopping by and visiting and reading about Shea Weber. If you want to talk to me about your thoughts on the Philly fall through or anything else, you can find me on Twitter. Next up on the list is a great player and a great captain. Get ready for Beyond the ‘C’: The Story of Ryan Callahan.