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Weber becomes “Captain Weber” at Skate of the Union…

The “big announcement” has been made and many were correct.

The Nashville Predators, at their annual Skate of the Union event on Thursday night at Bridgestone Arena, named defenseman Shea Weber their new Captain.

The 6’4″ defenseman started his NHL career in Nashville, literally. He was one of three second round picks by the Predators when they hosted the NHL Draft in 2003. Picked at 49th overall, he’s the lowest drafted player in his draft class to have played in an NHL All-Star Game and the only second round pick to have done so.

The new captain Shea Weber signs an autograph for a fan after the Q&A portion of the Skate of the Union event.

Weber, 24, has played in five NHL seasons, all with Nashville. The Sicamous, BC native has led all Preds blueliners in scoring in each of the past two seasons and was third among all Nashville players in 2008-09 when he logged 53 points. His 23 goals that season was good for second highest on the entire club and was a career high at any level since before playing for the Sicamous Eagles in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League back in 2001.

Even though there was speculation that it might change hands anyway, the captainacy officially became vacant when center Jason Arnott was traded to the New Jersey Devils back on June 19.

Weber becomes the teams fifth captain. Grizzled veteran Tom Fitzgerald served as Captain from their inaugural season in 1998 until 2002 when he was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks at the trade deadline. Original Predator Greg Johnson then assumed the role until he retired in the summer of 2006. Fellow original Predator Kimmo Timonen was then named Captain for the two seasons following Johnson’s departure. Arnott then, for the past three seasons, held the honor until he was shipped out last month. While Arnott was the first non-original Predator to wear “the C,” Weber is the first Nashville drafted player to wear it, not to mention the youngest. Predators fans everywhere hope he wears it a lot longer than the four year record held by both Fitzgerald and Johnson.

Fun fact: Kevin Klein was drafted higher than Weber in 2003. 13 spots higher to be exact.

HEADLINE PHOTO CREDIT: Frederick Breedon // AP
INLAY PHOTO CREDIT: Jeremy K. Gover //