Will He Stay or Will He Go?
With the trade deadline looming a lot of different speculation has come up regarding the Predators Shea Weber.
Now I’m not sure why every time a fan hears a trade regarding their team the Preds they seem to start fantasizing about getting Shea Weber. He’s an RFA this season, as well the Predators in the run to make and compete in the playoffs. So if he becomes available it would be in the offseason once the Preds have retained his rights and a team is either willing to trade for him or put in a offer sheet.
I’ll start this with I believe to be the most unlikely scenario to happen and that is a team offer sheets Weber. The last person to be offer sheeted was Hjalmarsson by the Sharks for 3.5 mil a year for 4 years last off-season. Weber will probably be looking for a contract around 7 million a year, as that seems to be around what top defenseman make in the NHL. For a team to offer sheet him for that they would have to give up two first rounds, a second round and a third round. While this may be less than what a team may have to trade to get him, offer sheeting a player comes with its risks as you may lose a trading partner.
Now I’m not saying this is a likely scenario, but it’s one that is a possibility given the Predators financial situation, which is improving every season but still not up there quite yet. The most recent trading of an RFA that happened was when Kessel was traded to Toronto from Boston, so as a standard I will use that to see what a team may have to give up for Weber. Kessel was traded for two 1st round picks and a second, now that is a hefty price for any player while Kessel is an elite offensive talent I would like to think that Weber would fetch more than that as he is arguably one of the top 5 defenseman in the entire NHL at the moment. If the team were to try to trade picks to Nashville for Weber, it would have to be around 3 first rounder’s and probably a second rounder at the minimum, but knowing Poile he will what a players and prospects. In my opinion it would take around a top forward, that offensive talent the Preds have been searching for, someone that can get 80 points or more a season and a decent prospect if Poile wants to a one for one. This is a hard situation to cover as there are endless amount of combinations of players, picks and prospects that a team could trade to get Weber, but I would say this is probably the 2nd most likely situation to happen.
While I am slightly biased I do believe Weber will re-sign in Nashville this offseason. Poile has stated that he has had talks with Weber's agent but is not focusing on it as they want to have full attention on season. While some may take this as a bad sign, this is the way Poile has always operated and always will. In interviews with the media Weber has said that he loves the City and doesn’t want to leave the team, now whether this means he may take a pay-cut or not is up I the air, but I do see this as the mostly likely outcome in the offseason. As I motioned before he is probably going to want around 7 mill per year, Keith for Chicago recently signed a new deal while he only averages 5.5 mill per year for 13 years, in the first 7 years he makes an average of 7.5 million each year. While Chara makes an average of 6.5 million a year, but was previously making 7.5 million a year. Both players are similar to Weber as both are top tier defenseman in the NHL.
Hopefully Weber re-signs and does a long term deal to help the cap-hit for the Preds and so that we don’t lose arguably the best player in franchise history. This signing or non-signing could really determine whether or not this team is serious. If he isn’t signed it shows that the ownership and staff aren’t committed but if he is it goes a long way to prove that the Predators are there to stay.
I’d like to hear other people’s opinions on this; more along the lines of what do you believe your team would trade for him?