Predators File for Arbitration with Weber
The Predators recently filed for arbitration with Shea Weber the team’s captain. While I know I am a little late on the news, I wanted to get some thoughts in about the situation.
While some may see this as a breakdown in negotiations between the two sides, I see it as a brilliant move by Poile to insure Weber will be with the team for at least another year. Poile and Weber have both stated their wishes to sign a long term deal so that Weber can remain a Predator for a long time, and this gives Poile time to do that. The hearings cannot take place until after July 20th, so that gives Poile some extra time and teams cannot make an offer sheet to the Preds trying to poach Weber.
While I did not fully understand everything about arbitration I looked into it and from what I could find, when the team files for arbitration, they cannot walk away from the offer that is awarded to the player, and before the hearing the player decides whether he wants a one or two year deal with the team. That is significant for the Predators because we all know the unpredictability that goes with arbitration and sometimes players are awarded absurd salaries and that is the risk the Predators have taken. If a deal is not done Weber can ask for a two year deal so that when it expires he is an UFA and can make bank on July 1st. But the major risk is the offer he may get from arbitration, a player of Weber’s calibre if the Predators are unlucky could be awarded 8 million or up which would not allow the team to add any offence and would seriously handicap them for next year when some important players need a new contract.
While I don’t believe that will happen, I hope that Weber and the Predators come to a deal before that and sign long term at around 6.5 or 7 million a year for about 6 or 7 years. The team needs Weber more than they realize, and losing him could really hurt even with all our defence as a player like him doesn’t come around to often. Another scenario is that he signs a one year deal through arbitration and then uses next year to work out a long term deal.
Also as a side note, just before negotiations Weber switched agencies so that may be why Poile needed the extra time.
Greg Duley (@G_Duley)