During a media availability on Thursday, general manager Marc Bergevin told reporters that a long list of ongoing injuries will keep the veteran defenceman sidelined next season and that Weber “probably won’t be back for his career.”
Known for his hard playing style, Weber, 35, has long been dealing with several injury setbacks — particularly with respect to his left foot and ankle area. He’s also previously dealt with knee issues, undergoing surgery in July 2018 for a meniscal tear, and this season was plagued by a thumb injury that he played through in the post-season.
The severity of his situation came to light last week, with the player, team, league, and the players’ association all doing their due diligence when it comes to how to proceed, most notably with respect to whether Weber will retire or if he’s eligible to be placed on long-term injured reserve. He has five seasons remaining on the 14-year deal he signed with Nashville back in 2012 — matching an offer sheet initially signed with the Flyers — which carries an average annual value of about $7.8 million.
Since landing in Montreal in 2016, Weber has been a heart-and-soul leader on the Canadiens — both on the blue line and in the locker room — and his absence will bring a significant shift and huge loss.
“We had an emotional, deep conversation,” Bergevin said. “I have a lot of respect for Shea, what he’s done for the Montreal Canadiens, throughout his career.
“It will be impossible to replace Shea Weber. What he brings to our team, on and off the ice, we’ll try our best but I know deep down that we can never replace Shea Weber.”
Drouin ‘ready to go’
Bergevin also addressed the status of forward Jonathan Drouin, saying “he’s ready to go.”
Drouin, 26, took an indefinite personal leave of absence from the team in April, and is expected to be back at camp in Montreal this fall.