Friday, July 29, 2011
Shea Weber Versus the Nashville Predators
As the hours tick down to Tuesday's arbitration hearing between the Nashville Predators and Shea Weber and his representatives, Pred Nation hangs on nervously waiting to see if the arbitration will proceed which could herald a shorter term situation with the team's captain or if a deal will be made that will guarantee a longer term relationship between Weber and the team.
At the season ending locker room clean out session, Weber was clear about his intentions. He wanted a fair deal that would keep all the key personnel intact for several years for more playoff runs.
“I want to get something done. I want to stay here and it’s got to be right for everyone. You don’t want to take away from other players staying here. You want to make sure everyone stays here so we’ll have a good team.”
Going further, Weber sounded like a guy that had put down roots in a city that is a far cry from his British Columbia home.
“I’ve been here my whole career and this is a place I love. I love the people of Nashville and I love the city. I think a lot of people recognize how good our fans are and nationally they got some recognition finally and people realize that it is somewhat of a hockey city.”
Weber was reflective on the series with Vancouver and looked forward to what needed to be done in the coming years when faced with the task of going deeper into the playoffs.
“We need to learn to be ready to start the second round. In game one we weren’t and it was very apparent and we can’t be satisfied with getting past the first round because it doesn’t mean anything.”
He was proud of the Predators success and searched for answers that everyone was seeking for the team's future, “We learned how to find a way. It got us as far as it did but we need to find a way to win even bigger games.”
So now, two and a half months later, a deal still hasn't been struck. Weber has changed agents and the two sides are not communicating on the same page, so it appears.
The numbers for a multi-year deal appeared to be in the $6.5 million a year range at season's end. Since that time, we have seen crazy deals for UFA's of inferior quality to Weber move toward that figure.
The major difference is that Weber is “restricted” and will be bound to the Predators for one or two years and could take an arbitration verdict and then jump into the RFA market for money far crazier than imagined this summer.
A fair figure for both sides in negotiating a long term deal will be in the $7 to 7.25 million range for a four or five year term. I'm sure that both sides realize that this is the bottom line.
The final choice will remain with Weber. Does he take an arbitration verdict in this range for a couple of years and roll the dice that he avoids injury and that he can make $8 to $10 million under a new CBA with another club or does he remain true to what he said in May and sign for a number that will allow the “big three” to play together for a few more years.
My bet is that a deal will be struck at the final moment, as every other arbitration eligible player has done so far this year.
By lunch time on Tuesday, we should know the fate of Shea Weber and the Predators.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOntheGlass