Canadiens Trade Shea Weber to Golden Knights

Canadiens Trade Shea Weber to Golden Knights

The Montreal Canadiens announced they have traded defenseman Shea Weber to the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for winger Evgenii Dadonov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports this is a straight one-for-one trade with no salary retained by either club.

Montreal Canadiens trade Shea Weber to the Vegas Golden Knights for Evgenii Dadonov (NHL Images).

Weber, 36, has four years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $7.857 million. He spent all of this season on long-term injury reserve and isn’t expected to play again. The 33-year-old Dadonov has one season left on his deal with an annual cap hit of $5 million.

This move frees up over $2.8 million of salary cap space for 2022-23 for the Canadiens while adding a roster player for next season. It also removes Weber’s cap hit from their long-term cap payroll, providing management with additional flexibility down the road.

Some might wonder why the Canadiens opted to trade Weber’s contract instead of simply placing him on LTIR again and exceeding the cap ceiling if necessary. Under that scenario, they can’t accrue cap space over the course of the season, hampering efforts to add players via call-ups, trades or free-agent signings.

The Golden Knights appear comfortable putting Weber on LTIR for the coming season. Despite his high cap hit, he’ll only be owed $3 million in actual salary for 2022-23 and $1 million per season for the remaining three years. This move could also free up cap room to re-sign pending free agent winger Reilly Smith or to invest in his replacement.

It’s not surprising the Golden Knights moved Dadonov considering they tried and failed to ship him to the Anaheim Ducks at this season’s trade deadline. He has a 10-team no-trade list plus a no-movement clause preventing him from going to the minors. It’s interesting to note that the Canadiens weren’t on his list of no-trade destinations.

Dadonov remains a reliable top-six winger, scoring 20 goals and 43 points in 78 games last season with the Golden Knights. He could still be a serviceable player for the Habs in what’s expected to be a rebuilding season. They could also attempt to shop him for futures before next season’s trade deadline if they’re not in playoff contention by that point.