MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said captain Shea Weber will not play next season because of injuries and that the defenseman’s career may be over.

Bergevin said on a video conference Thursday that Weber is dealing with a number of injuries, including to his foot, ankle and knee.

The 35-year-old Weber was a stalwart on Montreal’s blue line last season, guiding the Canadiens to the Stanley Cup final, where they lost to Tampa Bay in five games.

Bergevin said it will be impossible for the Canadiens to replace Weber, but the club will look to fill his minutes through trades, free agency and existing players.

“We’ll try our best, but I know deep down that we can never replace Shea Weber,” the general manager said.

Bergevin added that he recently had an “emotional, deep conversation” with Weber.

“It was hard for Shea,” Bergevin said. “That’s all he knows. He’s a hockey player to the core. It’s really hit hard to realize that he can no longer perform the way he’s expecting for him and for his teammates, and the pain he’s in going through daily.”

Weber has 224 goals and 365 assists in 1,038 regular-season games with Nashville and Montreal, and has 18 goals and 24 assists in 97 playoff appearances.
Last season, he had six goals and 13 assists in 48 regular-season games and a goal and five assists in 22 playoff games.

TRADES: Carolina traded its playoff starting goaltender to Detroit to avoid arbitration. Philadelphia sent a high draft pick to Arizona to take on a pricey defenseman. The New York Rangers gave a back-to-back Stanley Cup winner a contract reigning champion Tampa Bay never could have afforded.

The moves made Thursday when the NHL’s roster freeze for the Seattle expansion draft lifted were all consequences of the salary cap remaining flat at $81.5 million because of pandemic-related revenue losses.

“It’s a tough environment out there right now,” Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher said. “It’s tough to move money.”

The Hurricanes dealt rookie goalie Alex Nedeljkovic to the Red Wings for the No. 94 pick in the draft this weekend and the rights to pending free agent netminder Jonathan Bernier. Detroit signed Nedeljkovic to a $6 million, two-year contract – just under what the 25-year-old might have been awarded in an arbitration hearing.

Nedeljkovic, who had a 2.01 goals-against average and .928 save percentage last season, gives the rebuilding Red Wings the young presence in goal they’ve been looking for. The Hurricanes can turn their attention to re-signing Petr Mrazek or finding help elsewhere.

The Flyers can now go free-agent shopping when the market opens Wednesday after paying the price of 2022 second- and seventh-round picks to dump defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere and his contract with the Coyotes. He counts $4.5 million against the cap for the next two seasons, which doesn’t work for Philadelphia after acquiring top-pairing defender Ryan Ellis from Nashville.

“Our reality was pretty simple,” Fletcher said. “We made the move we had to make.”

Gostisbehere, 28, could turn into a useful asset for the Coyotes either at the 2021 or 2022 trade deadline. GM Bill Armstrong said Gostisbehere “will be a solid addition to our blueline this season and will be a key power-play player for us.”

Forward Barclay Goodrow was a key penalty killer and grinder for Tampa Bay, playing a crucial role in winning back-to-back championships. The cap-strapped Lightning last weekend traded his rights to the Rangers, who agreed to terms with Goodrow on a $21.6 million, six-year deal.

Among other moves, the Seattle Kraken traded forward Tyler Pitlick to Calgary for a 2022 fourth-round pick one day after taking Pitlick from the Coyotes in the expansion draft.

SCHEDULES: The NHL sent teams two versions of the 2021-22 schedule – one that includes an Olympic break to pause the season so players can go to Beijing and another version of what the calendar would look like if they do not.

Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly confirmed all 32 teams have seen each schedule and that as of Thursday afternoon there was not an agreement in place between the league, the NHLPA, the International Ice Hockey Federation and the International Olympic Committee for players to return to the Winter Olympics.

The schedule the NHL is unveiling later in the day includes the Olympic break in the hope that a deal gets worked out. That would push the end of the Stanley Cup final back to late June and include some more frenetic stretches of play during the regular season.

Each schedule includes the Winter Classic between Minnesota and St. Louis on Jan. 1 at Target Field in Minneapolis, an outdoor game between the Predators and back-to-back champion Lightning in Nashville on Feb. 26 and All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas.

AVALANCHE: Forward Matt Calvert announced his retirement after 11 seasons in the NHL.

The oft-injured Calvert was limited to 18 games last season by a variety of injuries, including a concussion.

The two-way forward spent his first eight seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets, who drafted him in 2008. He signed with Colorado in 2018 but finished all three seasons in Denver on the injured list.

SHARKS: The San Jose Sharks have re-signed forward Rudolfs Balcers to a two-year contract before he hit the market as a restricted free agent.

The Sharks also signed pending restricted free-agent forward Joachim Blichfeld to a one-year deal.

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