The Montreal Canadiens named defenseman Shea Weber the 30th captain in franchise history. The recently traded Max Pacioretty served as the team’s captain for the last three seasons.
The announcement was made just three weaks after head coach Claude Julien and general manager Marc Bergevin claimed the team was in no hurry to name a new captain. Weber admitted he was caught off-guard by the decision.
The team also announced Brenden Gallagher and Paul Byron will serve as alternate captains. Weber recently underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee that is expected to keep him sidelined for the first two to three months of the regular season. Byron said Weber has remained an active leader despite the injury.
“He’s here every day, he’s talking to us, talking to the young guys, making sure we have team dinners,” said Byron. “It’s not always easy bringing in all these new pieces and making sure everybody fits, but he goes out of his way to make sure that happens.”
Gallagher was considered a favourite to be named captain, but the 26-year-old winger said he’s not at all disappointed in the team’s decision.
“I think Webs is the perfect pick, I think he’s gonna be great at it,” said Gallagher. “I’m pretty happy to be an assistant captain on this team, it’s a huge honour for me.”
Weber served as the captain of the Nashville Predators before being traded in a blockbuster deal for defenseman P.K. Subban on June 29, 2016. Weber registered 17 goals and 25 assists in the 2016-17 season, but foot and knee injuries limited him to just 26 games last year. The Habs will open the 2018-19 season without their captain on October 3 in Toronto.
*Photo Credit: Photo via @CanadiensMTL [on Twitter]