One essential piece of the Nashville Predators rise from “perennial playoff team” status to “Stanley Cup contender” status was defenseman, three-time Norris Trophy finalist and five-time All-Star Shea Weber. Unfortunately for the former Preds captain, he was dealt to the Montreal Canadiens a few months before the season in which Nashville finally realized their dream of playing in the Final.
At a recent Habs golf tournament, Weber shared his thoughts on watching his ex-teammates from afar come within a few goals of hoisting the Cup.
“I’ve got a lot of friends there that I played with for a long time,” Weber told Arpon Basu of The Athletic. “I was really hoping to see them win. It would’ve been something special for them and I would’ve like to have seen them win. They put in a good effort and came up two games short but I think it was harder on them, obviously, getting that close and then losing. It was a little tough.”
Weber then talked about how the city turned out for the magical run.
“It was pretty special because I was there for the hard times there when they were talking about moving the team and the team was on its way out,” he said. “I was there for the city rallying around it [in 2007] but I think that everybody else in hockey got to see it [in 2017] because of the exposure. The city really loves their team. They’ve loved their team for a long time but it finally came to show. It was pretty neat for the city of Nashville to have that.”
Weber was drafted by the Preds in the second round of 2003 and helped launch the Predators 365 Fund with goaltender Pekka Rinne, benefitting the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. He remains comfortably in second place on the franchise’s all-time list in goals with 166, third in assists with 277 and and third in scoring with 443 points.
The closest active Predators in each of the aforementioned categories are Craig Smith (98 goals) and Roman Josi (175 assists and 239 points).
PHOTO CREDIT: screen cap of NHL.com video