There was a collective sigh of relief from many in the Nashville Predators fanbase when the front office chose to match the massive 14-year, $110 million offer sheet that the Philadelphia Flyers signed Shea Weber to last summer.
First of all, it kept their one marketable player, outside of Pekka Rinne, in town after Ryan Suter left. Second, it gave them the one piece that they truly had to build around, again, outside of Rinne.
But this season hasn’t been quite as good as we’ve seen Weber in recent years. A perennial Norris Trophy candidate, Weber has been a ghost for the majority of the 2013 season. To this point at least.
After hovering around 50 points for the past several seasons, and surpassing that mark in 2008-2009, we haven’t seen the same production out of Weber. A guy that is typically good for at least 15 goals from the blue line has just three on the year. What’s the deal with Shea Weber?
Could it be that he’s struggling without his partner, Suter, on defense? Most thought it would be the other way around. Not that Suter is exactly setting the world on fire with his play, either. Could be some separation anxiety there on the part of Weber. Could that massive new contract be weighing heavy on his shoulders? That’s also a possibility.
It could also be a combination of both. Weber isn’t used to playing without an All Star next to him, and now faces the expectations that come with such a large contract. Just imagine if he had ended up in a market like Philly.
It’s probably only a matter of time before we see Weber return to that Norris Trophy form that he’s become so well known for. But one has to wonder how long the Preds have to wait before seeing that type of play. Hopefully not too long, especially in a shortened season.