Not sure he was supposed to let it slip, but he did.
In a discussion with media on Tuesday, Montreal Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin told reporters that while Shea Weber has not officially announced his retirement, he will not return to hockey.
Speaking in French, Drouin said Weber is acting “dans le fond”, or in the background, while scouting with Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin. Speaking to reporters last week following the Canadiens' 0-4 start to the season, Bergevin revealed that he thinks it would be a "long shot" for Weber to ever play again.
"He retired basically, he won't come back for us, you move on, hockey is over (for him)," Drouin said in a translated comment.
Canadiens PR representative Paul Wilson said Weber has not signed any retirement papers as of yet.
Weber was Montreal's top defender last season, racking up 19 points in 48 games in the pandemic-shortened 2021 campaign before helping lead the Canadiens to a surprise appearance in the Stanley Cup Final. Foot and ankle injuries that had ailed Weber for years grew worse over the course of that run.
If Weber was to officially retire from the NHL instead of being on long-term injured reserve like he is now. the Nashville Predators – the team that signed Weber to a 14-year contract back in 2012 – would face a cap charge for the next five seasons. Weber holds a cap hit of $7,857,143 until 2025-26, but according to PuckPedia over the summer, the cap recapture penalties would be $6.1 million per season for four years to Nashville and just over $200,000 for the Canadiens.
So, it's in everyone's best interests to keep Weber, Montreal's captain, working in the background until his contract finally ends.