Mar 27, 2014, 12:19 PM EST
The Nashville Predators are going to miss the playoffs for the second straight year, but their captain’s never played better.
That’s what head coach Barry Trotz said this week, claiming that Shea Weber is in the midst of his best season since breaking into the NHL nine years ago.
“He’s not getting the accolades across the league that he would if we were a little higher in the standings, but it’s by far his best season in terms of production,” Trotz said, per The Tennessean. “And we’re basically breaking in five defensemen, maybe four … and he’s having a terrific season.
“So to me, he’s having by far his best season as a Predator, as a pro.”
Statistically speaking, Weber’s been very Weber-like this season. His 18 goals are five off his career-best 23 and his 46 points are seven off his career high of 53. He’s playing a ton of minutes, which is nothing new — though it’s worth mentioning he’s averaging a career-high 27:56 TOI per game, in large part because of all the new blueliners Trotz referenced.
The bigger narrative, it seems, is pushing Weber’s Norris Trophy candidacy.
After finishing as the runner up to Nicklas Lidstrom in 2011 and Erik Karlsson in 2012, Weber plummeted to eighth in voting last year, failing to get a single first-place ballot. At times, it seems like Weber’s play is taken for granted (because he’s so consistently good) and often overlooked because of the market he plays in.
There might be something to it.
Though he undoubtedly has many years left in his career to win one, the fact Weber — who turns 29 in August — hasn’t won a Norris yet is kind of surprising; especially since three of the last four winners (Karlsson, P.K. Subban, Duncan Keith) were all 26 or younger.
Of course, the age thing doesn’t mean all that much.
Lidstrom and Scott Niedermayer didn’t win their first Norris Trophies ’til they were 30; Zdeno Chara was 31 and, perhaps most famously, Hockey Hall of Famer Al MacInnis won his first and only Norris when he was 35 years old.
Whatever the case, Trotz wants it to be known Weber should be in consideration for this year’s Norris.
“If you were doing a coaching poll, I know he’d be in the top three,” Trotz said. “He has been an absolute beast this year in terms of the way he’s played. On and off the ice, he’s taken a leadership role. He’s been a difference maker.
“He can play in every situation you want to throw at him, and he’s having a great season.”
Dec 20, 2014, 1:22 PM EST
Good luck trying to forecast their lines for Saturday.
Dec 20, 2014, 1:21 PM EST
In case you missed it.
Dec 20, 2014, 12:57 PM EST
They believe that it isn’t a long-term issue.
Dec 20, 2014, 12:00 PM EST
Dec 20, 2014, 11:32 AM EST
It’s unclear what the specific ailment is.
Dec 20, 2014, 10:40 AM EST
Absurd might be the right word.
Dec 20, 2014, 9:00 AM EST
As it turns out, the hockey exec’s name rhymes nicely with “must go.”
Dec 20, 2014, 12:09 AM EST
They label Jimmy Howard as day-to-day.
Dec 19, 2014, 11:32 PM EST
They fell to Winnipeg 2-1 on Friday.
Dec 19, 2014, 10:31 PM EST
Then again, maybe the Ryan – Zibanejad – Hoffman line was just that good.
Dec 19, 2014, 10:01 PM EST
A beauty in regulation and in the shootout.
Dec 19, 2014, 9:51 PM EST
Sven Andrighetto is back up while Eric Tangradi heads to the AHL.
Dec 19, 2014, 8:48 PM EST
They’re playing safe for “precautionary” reasons.
Dec 19, 2014, 7:43 PM EST
It’s been 2,599 days since that last happened.
Dec 19, 2014, 6:47 PM EST
Let’s hope it’s just that type of illness …
Dec 19, 2014, 6:40 PM EST
It’s almost starting to feel like he has mutant powers.
Dec 19, 2014, 6:28 PM EST
They recalled Alexander Wennberg and Cody Goloubef.
Dec 19, 2014, 5:07 PM EST
Is under going an MRI today.
Dec 19, 2014, 5:00 PM EST
“As a family, we are thrilled that Dad’s quality of life has greatly improved, and his progress has exceeded our greatest expectations.”
Dec 19, 2014, 4:34 PM EST
Bring on the trade speculation.
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