Shea Weber will make his Canadiens debut on Thursday

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Sure, it’s only a preseason game, but when the Montreal Canadiens take the ice on Thursday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs they will have two of their biggest players in the lineup for the first time this year.

That includes defenseman Shea Weber, who will be skating in a Canadiens uniform for the first since the blockbuster offseason trade that brought him to Montreal in exchange for P.K. Subban.

He is expected to skate on a pairing alongside Nathan Beaulieu.

Along with Weber, starting goaltender Carey Price will also be in the lineup for Montreal for the first time since last November. Both players played for Team Canada at the World Cup of Hockey and did not rejoin the team until after training camp had already started.

While Price is the engine that makes the entire Canadiens team go, Weber is the player that is going to have most of the focus on him simply because of the circumstances that brought him to Montreal (those circumstances, of course, being one of the most controversial trades in Canadiens history).

Even with all of the attention that trade received (most of it being negative for Montreal) there is still a very good chance this all works out for Weber individually in the short-term.

As I mentioned on Tuesday when talking about the NHL Awards odds, it is very easy to see how Weber could end up being a contender for the Norris Trophy this season.

He is still a very good player that is going to score a lot of goals, and with the Canadiens getting a significant boost to their lineup simply because they will have Price back they should be a better team in the standings. If Weber scores 20 goals and the Canadiens make the playoffs, Weber is going to get a lot of positive attention for that. It might even be enough to generate the same type of “it’s his time to win” push that Drew Doughty received last season.