Rabid Habs

The Forum: Trading Shea Weber

Earlier this week, Eyes on the Prize posted about trading Shea Weber, arguing it’s a massive risk, but worth considering, which means we had to take the question to our contributors: if it were up to you, would you trade Shea Weber?

 

Sean O’Neill (@TheONeillFactor) – Even the staunchest defenders of the PK-for-Weber deal (a group getting smaller and smaller by the week) admitted that the swap was a win-now move, designed to help push Carey Price and company into the promised land during the 2-3 year window where Weber was still in his relative prime.

Well the win-now window is closed, meaning the Habs might be wise to move Weber. #6 is an interesting asset – he’s still arguably one of the top-10 or 15 defencemen on the planet but his age, contract, and recent injury history don’t necessarily make him the sexiest trade-bait. However, a team on the verge of contention could easily talk themselves into Shea Weber, and at this point in the rebuilding process, Marc Bergevin might be wise to explore trade opportunities before Weber becomes absolutely unmovable.

I think this is unlikely to happen for two reasons. First, MB is unlikely to receive perceived equal value for Weber, and trading him for seventy-five cents on the dollar (less than two years after doing the same thing for PK) is how good teams become mediocre and mediocre teams become horrible. On a related note, tacitly or not, trading Weber would essentially constitute a major admission of error on the part of the Habs front office. Nothing this team has done over the past two years would suggest to me that they have the requisite humility or know-how to pull that off.

Ian Boisvert (@Boisvertian) – Shea Weber is too highly valued by the other 30 GMs in the league for Bergevin not to consider it. If every team had the cap space and the assets to acquire Weber, Bergevin would demand a king’s ransom.

With that said, that contract is a behemoth. Should they try to move Weber while he’s still valuable? Absolutely. But if you have to retain significant salary on a contract with 8 years left, should you? I would say no. Paying players to not play for you is a non-starter for me. Can’t win like that.

It’s sort of excusable for Bergevin to not have an emergency chute on this Weber contract. Even if you didn’t like the trade, there’s no way you saw the Canadiens trying to trade him in two years. It’s a huge risk that could pay off in spades; not only can the Canadiens get a great package in return, but without him their defense is garbage, meaning they could fall even further and grab another top draft pick next year (Think about the Phil Kessel trade. The Leafs couldn’t keep Kessel and finish last).

But like I’ve argued with the Pacioretty deal: a Weber deal is far too complicated and too involved to pull off mid-season. A deal at the draft or in the dead of summer makes the most sense to me.

And you better win that trade by a landslide.

Kyle Roussel (@kyleroussel) – They should not only consider it, they should do it (so long as they don’t have to pay players to sit, as Ian mentioned.) Weber will never be worth more than he is now. Rid yourself of his contract, and of a player who, with age, will be a glorified version of Sheldon Souray (except with the reputation of something far greater, for whatever that’s worth). Within a couple years there will be nobody left thinking that it was a good trade, except those who are willing to fall on the sword for Bergevin. The same people who lap up everything the Habs say and do. Remember those who said character would no longer be an issue with this team with Weber on board? Oops! Remember those who said that nobody would run Price? Oops! All this being said, I don’t expect Bergevin to trade Weber for exactly the reason Sean said; that would be admitting his (career-defining) mistake.

Once again this boils down to what the Habs are thinking behind closed doors. Do they *truly* believe that they can retool this team with one draft and one off-season, and be back in playoff contention next year? I believe this is what they’re thinking, and I think it’s a terrible mistake to act on that plan. This team needs to embrace the suck for at least 2 seasons in order to reap the rewards down the line. The caveat of course is that Bergevin isn’t the guy calling the shots). With the Weber trade, they doubled-down on a ‘win-now’ mentality and it has exploded in their faces in spectacular fashion. There’s no reason to think the window is still open, or will re-open any time soon. There are too many gaping holes and fatal flaws for this management group to think they’re close to anything close to success. But I’m cynical, and I think the Habs brass is happy if they slide in to a playoff spot, and anything on top of that is gravy.

Is this all applicable to the question, or am I ranting again? I dunno. But yes, they need to trade Weber, Pacioretty, Plekanec, Shaw, and I’ll take it 10 steps further by saying they should consider moving Price as well. Nothing against him. Best goalie going. But that contract stinks to high heaven.

Zach Vanasse (@ZachDropsTweets) – It should happen.

It won’t happen.

Namely for the reason cited above: it’s an admission that the Subban-Weber trade was a mistake.

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