Last time, I entered into the world of speculation as it concerned the negotiations with Shea Weber based upon what we’d heard to that point (prior to the arbitration hearing and the subsequent conference call with David Poile and Weber). I basically came to the conclusion that the primary blame for the stalemate should fall on the shoulders of David Poile (and ownership) if my speculation was correct that the biggest holdup was questions over the ability to truly compete for the Stanley Cup.
Since that time, we’ve all been witness to the fact that it actually went to arbitration. We’ve also all had the ability to hear the conference call with the media after that hearing. [Audio found over at PredsOnTheGlass]
Since that time, we’ve had the opportunity to read and hear what has followed from all the great Predator blogs (see ThePredatorial’s Ultimate Blogroll for a good list) as well as from the national media. Many see this as the beginning of the end of Weber’s time in Nashville. Dirk has even proposed that Weber should be traded now. It has also brought back the discussion of which of the “big 3″ should be kept if the Predators can’t afford them all. [PuckScene.com's Roundtable & Section303.com 303:30 Podcast]
As my two readers have probably noticed, I beat to a different drum at times. I’ve been reading and listening to everything coming out and trying to get a gut-feel on Weber’s intentions and how this may ultimately play out. My reaction to everything I’ve been reading (and listening to) was that my thoughts were really out in left field- until I heard Elliotte Friedman’s segment on 104.5 The Zone. [Audio found at OnTheForeCheck.com]
At this point, I still think that the most important thing for Shea Weber is winning. I said it last time, Weber and Poile really stressed it in the conference call, and Friedman mentioned it again on 104.5 The Zone. Essentially, Shea Weber has fired his shot across the bow of the organization and made his intentions known. The puck is now clearly in Poile’s zone.
The other notion I’ve been kicking around (and Friedman even mentioned this as well- shockingly) is that I’m not so sure that the floor on a long term contract for Weber is now $7.5 million. That $7.5 million was an arbitration award. Would Weber take a little less (say $7 million) if he was convinced that Nashville intends to truly attempt to contend? I think he would (without any inside information beyond the confirmation we heard from Friedman).
Finally, there’s one other nagging thought that prevents me from saying “trade Weber now”. What would happen if both Suter and Rinne have similar thoughts in regards to the Predators ability to field a true contender? They are both unrestricted after next season, so there’s no guarantee whatsoever that either of them will sign in Nashville regardless of the amount of money thrown at them. With Weber, Nashville is guaranteed to have him for at least the next two years if the Predators are willing to pay.
For some people, winning is most important. What if it matters most to Nashville’s superstars? What would happen if Nashville lost two, or all three, of their homegrown superstars? As a fan, what would your reaction be?
You are invited to follow me on Twitter (@SingletonPreds). For game recaps of all Predators games as well as great insights on the Predators and the NHL, check out my HockeyIndependent colleague, Mark Willoughby (@TheViewFrom111).
About the Author: Nashville Predators Blogger, Software Engineer (C#.NET), Novice Woodworker, Southern Cook, Husband, Father of Two. You may contact me at David.R.Singleton AT gmail.com.