The EURO League’s All-Star Game History and Guide Book, which details all six of the games that have been played thus far, is available as an e-book online at http://online.flipbuilder.com/xwfl/agni/.
If you look at it close enough you will get a hint of the strange career of defenseman Shea Weber. Weber is 32 years old now and has always been known for his strong all-around game and his howitzer slapshot. Three times, Weber has won the league’s Hardest Shot title as part of the All-Star Skills Competition. And he has appeared in all six all-star games, making him one of two players to do so. Claude Giroux is the other.
But of those six appearances, Weber has been a member of five different teams. He has played for the Northern Conference four times as a representative of Oslo (twice), London and Copenhagen; and he’s played for the Southern Conference twice, when he was with Lisbon and Madrid, the team he plays for today.
Weber makes the all-star team every year because he’s that good. Frankly, he tailed off last season and finished with his worst-ever goal and point totals (9 goals and 42 points). His best offensive season was in Season 5 as a member of Lisbon H.C., when he blasted in 21 goals and had 72 points. Every year, he has been credited with 224 to 322 hits and between 92 and 111 blocked shots.
Weber seems to be building a case for the Hall of Fame when he retires. Among active defensemen, he ranks second in points and goals, and third in assists. He is third all-time in takeaways, 8th all-time in blocked shots and 8th all-time in plus-minus rating at plus 141. And he is the all-time leader in shots and hits. He has also played in the playoffs all six seasons.
In the initial EURO League draft, Weber was taken 8th overall by Olso. He has been so good that every year, teams have been willing to give up a lot of assets to acquire him. We don’t know how many times general managers have submitted trade proposals to get the big minute-eating defenseman, but we do know of three times when what was offered was good enough to send him to a new team. These are the trades in which Weber has been involved:
- Oslo traded Weber and Pavel Datsyuk to London for Tyler Seguin and Luca Sbisa
- London traded Weber to Copenhagen for Kevin Shattenkirk, Carl Gunnarsson and Teddy Purcell
- Copenhagen traded Weber to Lisbon for Moscow’s 2016 first-round draft pick (that eventually turned into Simon Hjalmarsson after another trade), Dougie Hamilton and Gareth Roberts
During the off season between Seasons 5 and 6, Weber decided to test the market and ended up leaving Lisbon and moving next door to Spain and Madrid. He is being paid the maximum and is on the second year of a three-year, $9 million deal with a player option.
This season, his second with Madrid, his team is flirting with first place overall. The Royals and the only coach they’ve ever had, Dan Bylsma, are doing something different at new GM Tony B’s suggestion. Ice time is spread more evenly throughout the lineup. The team’s best players aren’t expected to be out there all the time. The load is being shared by more of the team. Weber for example is currently on the top defense pairing with David Schlemko, not superstar Erik Karlsson. Weber has always put in about 27 minutes per game. This year, he – and Karlsson, for that matter – are down to 23 minutes. Still, both have 9 goals, which is one off the league lead for defensemen, and both are in the top 12 in defenseman scoring. More importantly, the team is winning. Oh, and by the way, despite the decreased ice time, Weber still leads all EURO players in hits with 116 through 30 games.
UPDATE: In Season 8, because of salary cap issues, Weber was waived by Madrid and claimed by Bern. Between seasons 8 and 9, he was traded to Berlin for a third-round draft pick. Bern GM Paja Jansson said Weber was shopped around to about 15 teams before the Berlin trade.