When Ryan Suter left the Nashville Predators, most hockey folks were absolutely positive that it was going to be Suter having the issues surviving without Shea Weber, rather than the other way around. As it would turn out, that wasn’t at all the case.
Weber had an extremely quiet start to the season after signing his massive new contract to remain in Nashville, which was more of a technicality than anything after Weber agreed to a 14-year, $100+ million offer sheet with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Whether it was in the offensive or defensive end, Weber was virtually a ghost to start off the 2013 season. He had an awful January and didn’t even register a point on the stat sheet until February 7th. He struggled to make plays in the offensive end, as well as in the defensive zone.
A lot of that has to do with not having Suter next to him, of course. But since his slow start, Shea Weber has found his game, particularly in the offensive end of things. Which is obviously a tremendous asset to a Nashville Predators team that has as large of issues putting the puck in the net as anyone on the planet.
In 34 games this season, Weber has 20 points. Believe it or not, that’s actually the best scoring rate of his career. He’s currently just a point shy of taking over the team lead in points, with 20 on the year, and is tied for third on the Preds in plus/minus, currently sitting at a plus-5.
Looking at figures like Corsi will show you that Weber is still having some issues playing in his own zone. But that’s going to be expected until he gets a steady partner on defense. And that partner still won’t be Ryan Suter. Regardless of what the numbers show right now, it’s clear that Weber has gotten better as the season has worn on.
He probably won’t contend for a Norris Trophy this season, but it has to be a positive for the Predators to know that they didn’t make any sort of mistake in bringing back Shea Weber for the next 14 years.