Earlier today (7/22/21) Marc Bergiven announced that Shea Weber is not expected to play this season. He said"There was a lot of pain. It takes a lot of time in the morning to prepare even for a practice. And as you know, Shea is not one to complain. ... So him coming back next season is really not a possibility, and probably for his career." Weber is signed until 2026-27 with a cap hit of 7.58 million. What happens with that cap hit if he does retire is complex but I encourage you to read this article (shorturl.at/eiyGP).
Now how does this affect our defenseman core? First off we once again lose a right side defenseman. Cale Fleury being the other right shooting defenseman who we lost last night in the expansion draft. This means that we only have two right sided d-man signed for next year (Petry, Romanov). We do have Josh Brook in the AHL however. Brook 22 could step up; he put up 15 points in 33 games for the Rocket in his 2nd full season (Played 7 games in the 2018-19 season). He has been progressing extremely well. In 2019-20 he put up 13 points in 60 games. Even though he is looking to be a good defenseman Weber's shoes are hard to fill.
External options for filling those shoes would be to look at UFA’s David Savard and Keith Yandle. Both formidable d-man who could be signed short term. Another option would be trading. We are heading into this draft with 11 picks (the 31st, 63rd, 64th, 76th, 87th, 113th, 126th, 127th, 142nd, 191st, 223rd). Eric Engels reported that Timmins "Envisions some movement" regarding the 11 picks. It will be interesting to see what happens with said picks before the draft tomorrow.