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April 20, 2014
by Michael Menser Dell, Editor-in-Chief
Did you know Nashville has a hockey team?
I rib you not. They’re called the “Predators,” and they’re having another solid season, posting a 10-9-1 record through their first 20 games. Not too shabby. Especially since many of the players carry banjos.
Aside from the tributes to Hee Haw and moonshine concession stands, Shea Weber remains the best reason to attend a Predators game. The 23-year-old blueliner is making an early bid for Norris consideration, leading the Preds in scoring with 10 goals and 21 points.
Here at the LCS, we’ve been hyping Weber the past two years, and we’d like to officially start the Weber for Norris campaign here and now. This kid’s got the goods. He plays 24 minutes a night, hits like Sonny Liston, and has a shot powerful enough to turn goat piss into gasoline.
With 10 in 20, Weber is on pace for 40 goals. That’s quality. Paul Coffey and Bobby Orr are the only defensemen to ever crack 40, with Coffey doing it twice. While Weber matching the Herculean feat may seem ridiculous, stranger things have happened. For instance, did you know there's a hockey team in Nashville?
In 2006-07, his first full year in the NHL, Weber hammered home 17 goals, so the current production isn’t out of character. Last season, a dislocated kneecap derailed his ascension to superstardom, limiting him to a mere six goals in 54 games. But Weber’s healthy again, and it’s showing on the scoresheet.
Kevin Hatcher was the last NHL defender to threaten 40, scoring 34 goals with the Washington Capitals in the golden year of 1992-93. Sheldon Souray and Sergei Gonchar have each bagged 26, but that’s as close as anyone’s even come to 30. Gonchar was on pace in 1998-99, ringing up 21 goals in 53 games, only to have injuries squash what could have been a memorable campaign. Hell, over the past eight seasons, only seven defensemen have reached 20 goals.
So don't miss out on Weber. He could be putting together something special, and I don't mean his Buck Owens tribute band.
MOST GOALS BY A DEFENSEMAN