How long will Shea Weber play?

"They offered you what? I'm going to need a bigger wallet."

One critical question when evaluating a 14-year deal is what the player's career will look like from here. Is it reasonable to expect that Shea Weber will be a top-pairing defenseman for even half of this deal?

Let's take a look after the jump.

On Twitter today, I said there was a reasonably good chance that Weber would still be a top-pairing defenseman at age 35, and that even if he's no longer elite, a $7.8M cap hit will be reasonable for a top-pairing defenseman assuming even minimal cap growth.

I was surprised at the push-back I got on that, and it made me nervous. People do tend to wildly underestimate how steep the aging curve is; had I fallen into that trap?

As a first pass for how elite defensemen aged, I looked at the Norris trophy winners since 1995 and how old they were the last time they were 20+ minute players. Here's what I found:

Player Age for last 20+min season
Paul Coffey 38
Chris Chelios 42
Brian Leetch 37
Rob Blake 40
Al MacInnis 39
Chris Pronger 36*
Nicklas Lidstrom 41
Scott Niedermayer 36
Zdeno Chara 34 and counting
Duncan Keith 28 and counting
Erik Karlsson
21 and counting

That doesn't look so bad, really. It seems like a pretty good bet that he'll be a top-pairing guy until at least 35 if you accept this as a list of comparables.

Of course, some people don't. Weber hasn't won a Norris Trophy yet, after all. I'd argue that he's a fair bet to win one eventually and join this list -- after all, Chelios, Blake, MacInnis, Lidstrom, Niedermayer, and Chara were all older than Weber is now when they won their first Norris Trophy. But it's a fair point, so let's compare to a list that Weber does belong on, Norris finalists since 2000:

Player Age for last 20+ min season
Rob Blake 40
Chris Pronger 36*
Nicklas Lidstrom 41
Ray Bourque 40
Scott Stevens 38
Chris Chelios 42
Derian Hatcher 35
Al MacInnis 39
Scott Niedermayer 36
Sergei Zubov 37
Dion Phaneuf 26 and counting
Zdeno Chara 34 and counting
Mike Green 26 and counting
Duncan Keith 28 and counting
Drew Doughty 22 and counting
Erik Karlsson 21 and counting

I have a hard time looking at that list and arguing that someone who has already been a Norris finalist twice won't play on a top pairing until he's 35. And according to Nick Kypreos, at age 38 the salary drops to $1M and it's reasonable to guess he's planning to retire -- which wouldn't count on the cap under the current CBA. So I think it's fair to expect him to be a top-pairing defenseman for whatever fraction of the contract he'll actually play out.

In This Article

Teams
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Broad Street Hockey

You must be a member of Broad Street Hockey to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Broad Street Hockey. You should read them.

Join Broad Street Hockey

You must be a member of Broad Street Hockey to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Broad Street Hockey. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9355_tracker