Weber hit the ground running in Montreal after swapping teams with P.K. Subban, as he posted eight goals and 10 assists in the first 25 games of the 2016-17 season. While he'd finish with just 42 points -- his lowest point-per-game output since 2007-08 -- his crafting a team-high 22 points with the man advantage proved to be a welcomed tradeoff. Backstopped by one of the best netminders in the league in Carey Price, the positionally-sound blueliner used his physicality (140 hits) to log an impressive plus-20 rating. Perhaps the biggest challenge for Weber in the upcoming season will be breaking in a new defensive partner following the departures of Andrei Markov and Alexei Emelin. Look for him once the elite defensemen are removed from the draft boards in fantasy.
Weber’s no stranger to fantasy hockey owners. With Nashville, he’s been an elite producer on the blue line, most recently finishing fourth among defensemen with 20 goals and ninth in points with 51. But it’s not all offense; the 30-year-old was also among the top 20 at his position in hits (169) and blocked shots (160). Now, in the most controversial transaction off the offseason, he heads to the Canadiens, who traded the uber-popular (and younger) P.K. Subban for him. Like Subban, he’s a minutes-muncher, but Weber’s bigger and plays a more intimidating brand of defense, which will help goalie Carey Price. He’ll rival Subban’s offensive production, though much less flamboyantly – where Subban takes chances and creates offense on his own, Weber’s strength lays in generating offense within a system, which is music to the ears of head coach Michel Therrien. He’ll certainly replace Subban’s booming shot on the power play, and should produce plentifully there after scoring 14 times on the man advantage last season. Montreal’s fans may have been stunned by the move, but they’ll eventually embrace Weber as one the game’s most productive blueliners.
After matching a career-high with 23 goals and notching 56 points in 2013-14, Weber noticed only a small peel back on his offensive production last season. Even with the slight decline, the 29-year-old was still an elite fantasy force, posting 15 goals and 45 points across 78 games. Thanks to his improved team context, the 6-foot-4, 233-pound blueliner may have even made up the difference in his point total from the previous year by finishing with a much-improved plus-15 rating, along with supplying his highest PIM total (72) in six years. Additionally, Weber delivered his typically strong counting totals in the non-offensive categories as well, registering 147 blocked shots and dishing out 166 hits -- all while averaging 26:22 of ice time. The power-play quarterback could see his offensive role decline in the years to come now that he no longer has to be the main source of offense on the back end, as his stud partner Roman Josi turned in a 55-point season and is emerging as one of the best offensive blueliners in the game, while puck-moving defensemen Ryan Ellis and Seth Jones are also rising and should take on increased responsibilities in 2015-16. As such, we've probably already seen the offensive peak from Weber, but as a fairly solid bet to reach 15 goals and 40 points, he still remains one of the preeminent fantasy defensemen.
Make no mistake, Weber is the heart and soul of the Predators franchise, period. Not even goaltender Pekka Rinne -- who ranks a close second -- can match the value that Weber brings to the table. Offensive ability, defense, tenacity, leadership -- you name it, Weber supplies it all. Last season, Weber led the Preds in scoring for the second straight season, finishing with a career-high 56 points (23 goals, 33 assists) in 79 games. And although he has never won, he is a perennial candidate for the Norris Trophy after finishing third in the voting in 2014, and second in both 2012 and 2011. The 28-year-old Weber is one of the elite defensemen in the NHL, and should considered one of the top-five fantasy-relevant blueliners come draft day. In addition, given the offensive upgrades the Preds made this offseason, Weber now has a significantly improved supporting cast. As such, you could see his point totals climb even further this season -- a 60-70 point season is not out of the question.
The 2012-13 lockout-shortened season was one of adjustment for Weber who was playing for the first time without his regular blue line partner Ryan Suter. Not surprisingly, it took a while for Weber to find his game offensively, opening the season with just a single point in his first 12 games. But he stepped things up and finished with 28 points in 48 games, putting him in the top 10 in scoring among NHL defensemen. Looking ahead, Weber should enjoy another solid season on the Preds' blue line, despite playing for one of the league's more offensively-challenged teams.
On July 24, the Preds made headlines by matching a $110 million, 14-year offer sheet made to Weber by the Philadelphia Flyers just days before. By doing so, the Preds are assured of keeping their All-Star defenseman and team cornerstone in Nashville for at least one more season (matching an offer sheet means he can't be traded for one full year). Weber finished the season tied for seventh among NHL defensemen in both points (49) and plus-minus (plus-21), and should be at or near the top of your fantasy cheat sheet for defensemen.
Weber certainly showed his worth to the Preds last season, racking up 52 points in 80 games and leading the team into the second round of the playoffs for the first time in team history. To top it off, Weber was voted to the NHL's First All-Star Team for the first time in his career, and was named one of three finalists for the Norris Trophy, eventually finishing second to Nicklas Lidstrom. Despite these accomplishments, Weber and Nashville could not agree to terms on a new contract and went to salary arbitration in August. The result was a one-year, $7.5 million contract for Weber, making him the fifth-highest paid defenseman in the NHL. This season, look for Weber to continue his ascent to elite status in terms of fantasy value. He still possesses one of the most fearsome slapshots in the league, and plays with a bit of a nasty streak to boot. Don't be surprised if Weber hits the 60-70 point range this season, even without a top-tier offense to help him out.
With Jason Arnott off to New Jersey, Weber inherited the role of team captain in the offseason despite 2010-11 being the final year of his contract, a possible indication that he'll re-up with the team after this next season. Only once in five seasons has Weber been on the wrong side of the plus/minus rating (-6 in '07-'08), with his shots on goal in the low-to-mid 200's - fairly high totals for a rear guard. Assuming he stays healthy, Weber could grill up some fantasy-friendly stats. We're expecting roughly 40-50 points this season from No. 6.
Weber announced his presence as one of the top goal scoring defensemen in the the NHL last season, putting 23 pucks in the net, 10 of those power play goals. He also had 53 points in total, 80 penalty minutes, and 235 shots on goal, a ton for a defenseman. Weber will help you in pretty much every category, and this season he has a genuine shot to net 30 goals. He might not reach those lofty heights, but you can probably safely presume at least 20 goals for Weber.
Last season was anything but successful for Weber. He battled injuries right out of the gate and throughout the season, appearing in only 54 games. The result was that Weber was never really able to find a place in the Predators' offense last season and his scoring totals suffered greatly as a result. He fell well short of the 17 goals and 23 assists that he posted in 2006-07. We expect a full rebound for Weber in the upcoming season. With the departure of Marek Zidlicky, there should be plenty of power-play time for Weber and if he can establish himself early on in the season with good play and good health, the sky's the limit. We wouldn't rule out a 20-goal, 50-point campaign for the big blueliner, and that would once again place him in the top-15 offensive defensemen in the league.
This season Weber will go from one of the young Nashville blueliners to one of the veterans in just one year. In his first full NHL season with the Predators last year, Weber was one of the Top-30 defensemen in the league in scoring. His 17 goals ranked him sixth among NHL defensemen and his 40 points ranked him 28th in the league in scoring. It’s hard to believe but Weber’s best hockey is still ahead of him. Weber is just 22-years old and still has a lot of development ahead. He will push teammate Marek Zidlicky for the title of the No. 1 defenseman on the team this season.
The promising young Weber appeared in only 28 games last season with the Predators. That could change in 2006-07. Weber racked-up 27 points in 46 games with Milwaukee last season and became the buzz of the clubhouse. Weber will likely win a full-time job with the Predators this season and continue to develop as an NHL player. Weber could present some fantasy value if the right things happen.
The third of three 2nd round picks the Predators had in 2003, Weber projects as a solid all-around defenseman, equally capable of clearing the front of the net or taking a power play shift. He's still a few years away from the NHL, however.