Entries with the tag: shea weber
Isn’t it nice to get what you pay for? David Poile and Barry Trotz must certainly think so.
Shea Weber and Ryan Suter inked healthy contract extensions over the summer, with their combined salaries jumping from just over $1.4 million to $8 million this year. So far, the investment appears to be paying off, as Weber leads the Predators in scoring with 3 goals and 4 assists through 6 games, with Suter not far behind with 1 goal and 3 helpers.
As both Suter and Weber begin their 4th NHL season, they’re leading the maturation of a defense corps that is becoming not just one of the top young groups in the league, but one of the best stable of defensemen, period. Let’s take a look at offensive production by defensemen, sorted by team for 2007-8:
After failing to show up on the scoresheet during the first 5 games of the season, David Legwand finally made an impact in Saturday night’s 6-3 romp over Columbus, scoring the first goal by tipping a Shea Weber shot. There were still some troubling defensive gaffes, but seeing the whole gang chip in to score a six-pack goes a long way to address concerns that Jason Arnott’s absence would leave the team desperate for goals. In fact, this team which is built around the “scoring by committee” theory happens to have the most goal-scorers in the NHL (14 different players), tied with Colorado.
While it’s great to see role players like Joel Ward and Rich Peverley score, however, it’s the performance of Nashville’s rising star, Shea Weber, that should make the rest of the league sit up and take notice. Big #6 scored his 3rd goal on the young season, added 3 assists, and notched a +5 rating in 21:06 of ice time. At this point Weber leads the team in scoring, and will get his chance to impress the Canadian media this Thursday when the Calgary Flames come to town.
Let’s go to the highlights…
As the NHL prepares to raise the curtain “for real” here in North America tonight, Predators fans have a number of questions upon which their team’s fortunes will turn in 2008-9. Once again the assembled media pundits are calling for Nashville to miss the playoffs, citing a lack of offensive talent and questions about goaltending. With all that negative press, the Predators should have no trouble building an “us against the world” mentality in the locker room.
So what are the keys to Nashville’s hopes this year?
Perhaps nobody on the Nashville Predators has more to prove this season than Shea Weber; long celebrated as an up-and-coming defenseman and sometimes compared to draft classmate Dion Phaneuf (that 2003 group was stacked with good defensemen), Weber would appear to have all the tools of a top-flight blue-liner. He’s big, tough, has a powerful one-timer and is an agile skater. Last season it was hoped that he would step into the void left by former captain Kimmo Timonen, but a knee injury on the first shift of the first game pretty much derailed his year.
So far in training camp, we’ve seen a bigger, badder Shea Weber; he’s reported with some additional muscle, and appears to relish the challenge of being the highest paid defenseman on a playoff-caliber team. So just how far will Weber take his game this season?