The Montreal Canadiens' miserable offseason continued with news that star defenseman Shea Weber will be out five to six months after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his right knee, the team announced Thursday.
Weber was scheduled to have his knee looked at by team doctors earlier this year, but that was delayed by left foot surgery in March, a procedure that had an expected recovery time of six months.
Following a recent examination, it was determined Weber also needed knee surgery. The procedure was performed on June 19, and doctors found that the damage was more serious than previously anticipated.
"It is important to mention that this procedure could not have been performed earlier due to his recovery to his previous foot surgery. As such, we expect a recovery period from this latest knee surgery to be five to six months," said Canadiens head physician David Mulder said in a statement.
Weber, who turns 33 in August, played only 26 games for Montreal last season with six goals and 10 assists. Since the trade that sent star defenseman P.K. Subban to the Nashville Predators for Weber in June 2016, the Canadiens defenseman has 58 points in 104 games, skating 25:08 per game on average. Subban has 99 points in 148 games, skating 24:15 per game, and was a finalist for the Norris Trophy last season.
The Canadiens were criticized at the time of the trade for acquiring a player roughly four years older than Subban, with 763 regular-season games to his credit. Weber is also entering the seventh year of a 14-year contract that carries a $7,857,143 cap hit through 2026. Last season, however, was the final year that carried mandatory bonus money owed Weber.
"We were very disappointed to learn that this knee injury will extend Shea's recovery period," Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said in a statement. "Unfortunately, this is out of our control and we have to fully trust the medical group in these situations. We are confident that his recovery will go as scheduled and that Shea will return to action as soon as possible,"
Montreal made four minor signings on July 1, including center veteran Tomas Plekanec on a one-year deal, but failed to addressed several of the team's lineup holes. The Canadiens were expected to make a bid for star free agent center John Tavares, but Bergevin wasn't invited to make a pitch at his agent's offices.