Shea Weber is 15th among NHL defensemen in shots on goal. (PHOTO: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

Shea Weber, Sleeping Giant

Shea Weber hasn’t been having a very good time on the ice this season. With eight games in the books, the defenseman and Nashville Predators captain has officially set the record for the longest stretch without registering a point in what is now an eight-year NHL career.

Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators

Shea Weber will make Roman Josi a better player. (PHOTO: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports)

That’s surely not what he had in mind after his long-time defensive partner, Ryan Suter, left for Minnesota. Even those who thought Nashville would struggle without Suter wouldn’t have expected Nashville’s captain to go this long without so much as a secondary assist. It’s a streak so improbable that only the most die-hard haters would have even suggested it. Yet here Shea Weber is, pointless after eight games.

How long will it be before the sleeping giant awakens from his slumber? Obviously it’s impossible to say with precision, but there’s good reason to think it’s going to be very soon.

For starters, he’s carrying a fourth-in-the-league average of 27:32 of ice time per game right now. The chances of any top-pair NHL defenseman who plays that much going more than eight games without a point are already very small. Only one other player in the league’s top 30 players for average ice time – the New York Rangers’ third-year defenseman Ryan McDonagh, who’s averaging 24:41 (28th in the NHL) – has gone without a point so far.

Second, he takes a lot of shots – 21 so far this season, which ranks 15th among NHL defensemen. Like any player his shooting percentage numbers from season to season have fluctuated, from a high of 11.2 (2006-07) to a low of 3.9 (2007-08). If he were to score on his very next shot, his percentage on the year would only jump from zero to 4.5.

Third, Weber has averaged 1.65 times as many assists as goals in his career. A lot of those assists have come on the power play, where he is averaging more than four minutes per game right now.

Nashville Predators captain Shea Weber

Nashville Predators fans are still waiting for Weber’s first goal of the season. (PHOTO: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports)

Finally, Shea Weber has averaged nearly .54 points per game over his entire 488-game NHL career. Even in his worst season as a pro (2007-08) he still put up 20 points in 56 games. To manage even that relatively low pace for the season as a whole including the game already played, he would have to score 17 points in the last 40 games of this season, a pace that’s below his career average.

Even without Ryan Suter playing alongside him, Shea Weber is an elite talent. He’s never gone this long without a point in seven previous NHL seasons. Unless he’s destined for the biggest bomb-out year in recent memory or a streak where he piles on 2 or 3 points in every game during the last two weeks of the season, Nashville’s captain should tally at least a point sometime in the next few games.

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