The Nashville Predators have parted ways with the Captain- we remember the legacy of the best player in franchise history.
The Nashville Predators selected right-handed defenseman Shea Weber in the 2nd round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft not knowing that the 49th overall pick would become the only homegrown Captain in franchise history- and the face of Smashville hockey.
Combining unparalleled grit and strength with a cannon of a slapshot, Weber ascended to the World Class of hockey players- earning his place as a two-time Olympic gold medalist with Team Canada. He is, without question, one of the premiere defenders in the world.
His 11 seasons as a Nashville Predator saw him earn a mountain of accolades- five All-Star appearances, two as a First-Teamer and two as a Second-Teamer. He persistently invaded the Top-Five in Norris Trophy nods as league’s best defenseman, and he is the recipient of the 2016 Mark Messier Leadership Award.
But hardware doesn’t do justice for the play that Shea Weber brought to Smashville. Bridgestone would ignite as the Captain unloaded his 100+mph slapshot at the defense- fans loving to watch the opposition either brace for impact or scatter. Goalies were humbled, and nets were scorched.
Weber brought an element to the ice that makes hockey what it is- i.e. flattening Corey Perry with gloves to his face or notoriously placing Red Wing helmets against the glass. With the Captain active, the Predators could never really be accused of being a finesse team.
Shea Weber leaves the Nashville Predators as the franchise leader in Plus/Minus rating (+48), Power Play goals (80), and shots (2052). He is second to David Legwand in games played as a Pred (763), and as a defender still ranks second in goals (166) and third in assists (277) and points (443) in franchise history.
A three-time 20-goal scoring defender who floats around the 50-point mark year in and year out, Weber was a force on both ends of the ice as a Predator. His play may even have been underrated due to his tenure in a small-market franchise, but Smashville knows exactly how valuable he has been, leading the young franchise to nine playoff appearances.
Shea Weber earned his Captaincy of an NHL franchise, was very simply the best hockey player on his team for years, and is now leaving as the greatest Nashville Predator of all-time.
Smashville wishes the best of luck to Shea Weber as he becomes a Montreal Canadian- there should be a nice dusted-off portion of rafter in Bridgestone that awaits his eventual return to gold.