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Cue the Shea Weber-to-Edmonton speculation

Nov 15, 2013, 5:20 PM EDT

sheawebergetty Getty Images

Edmonton general manager Craig MacTavish said yesterday that it “would help immensely” if the Oilers could acquire a “big stud defenseman.”

This, not surprisingly, has led to all sorts of speculation. Who could MacTavish target?

Well, longtime Oilers beat writer Jim Matheson has an idea: Nashville captain Shea Weber, who Matheson calls “one of the three or four best defensemen in the game.”

Aim high, right?

From the Edmonton Journal:

So if you’re Craig MacTavish, who’s untouchable?

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins? Taylor Hall? Jordan Eberle? Justin Schultz? Nail Yakupov?

So we know MacTavish would give up his 2014 first-round pick, for a stud D-man. What else?

I’d say MacTavish would really need his arm cranked to move Hall or RNH. You’d be loathe to deal your No.1 centre or your emotional leader in Hall. And you outbid everybody in the NHL to sign Justin Schultz out of U of Wisconsin so you’d have to swallow hard to consider giving him up. Yakupov is not untouchable. I’d say, the Predators would jump through hoops to get Eberle and Schultz (the scorer on the wing and the puck-moving D-man). But, they’d still be missing a centre? They wouldn’t mind Sam Gagner. I’m sure the Predators have scouted tough defenceman Darnell Nurse and Swedish blueliner Oscar Klefbom, too, for prospects.

Granted, we still don’t know if Preds general manager David Poile is even willing to entertain offers for Weber. But here are a few reasons the Oilers might be able to tempt him:

— The Preds have a budget, and right now a lot of it is being used up by Weber, whose heavily front-loaded contract looks like this (per CapGeek):

source:

That’s a big nut for a team like Nashville, which, according to Forbes’ estimates, ranks near the bottom of the league in revenue.

— The Preds have Seth Jones now. No, he’s not an elite NHL defenseman yet. But the Preds aren’t an elite team either. It’s not like they’ll be making a run for the Stanley Cup this spring. In the Western Conference, they’re a long shot to even make the playoffs.

— The Preds need young, talented forwards. Badly. And the Oilers have plenty of those. Poile may not be interested in Yakupov (see: that whole experience with Alexander Radulov), but if MacTavish put Hall on the table?

And make no mistake, MacTavish would have to at least consider putting Hall on the table. This is Shea Weber we’re talking about. A guy that could — well, let’s use MacTavish’s words here — really “move the team forward in a rapid fashion.”

  1. hallforpresident - Nov 15, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    Whale hunting. The cost of getting Weber is simply too much for Edmonton to pay

    • ikillchicken - Nov 15, 2013 at 9:49 PM

      Agreed. It’s ENTIRELY ridiculous when you think about it. A true elite franchise defenseman is one of the most coveted players in hockey. There are no more than 6 players even comparable to Weber in the league right now and he’s probably the best of any of them. He brings the perfect blend of effectiveness at both ends of the ice, ability to play in all situations and size and grit. He’s way bigger than Keith, has a better shot than Doughty, is infinitely more effective defensively than Letang, Subban, or Karlsson, and a whole lot younger and more somewhat more mobile than Chara. He’s right in the heart of his prime and locked up to a long term deal with a pretty reasonable cap hit especially if the cap goes up going forward. To a franchise with any sense at all, he should be one of the most valuable players in hockey baring the likes Crosby, Ovechkin or Stamkos. Plus, as much as Edmonton likes to think of themselves as having this deluge of valuable pieces…well they’re not as valuable as they might think.

      -Yakupov is a mess right now. Sure, he has raw talent but given his apparent inability to improve his defensive game and questionable attitude, his stock is extremely low right now. Plus, after the Radulov fiasco, the last thing Nashville is going to want is another guy like this.

      -Schultz is a valuable young player but ultimately he would be lucky if he ever turns out to be even close to the player Weber is (and that’s no slight on Schultz). He projects as a very effective puck moving offensive defenseman. His two way play is average at best though and he has no real size or grit to speak of. I don’t really think he’ll ever be that elite go to guy that plays close to 30 minutes a night in all situations.

      -Eberle is a solid player. But anyone who thinks that one 34 goal season will ever be repeated is kidding themselves. His shooting percentage was 18.9 that season. That’s what’s called a totally unsustainable fluke. The thing is too, Eberle is basically out of the “prospect” stage. At 23, as a skilled forward and having played several seasons in the NHL, I think it’s pretty safe to say he won’t get significantly better than he already is. He’ll probably have a decent career as a middle of the road scoring top line forward, but that’s about it. And you’re crazy if you think you’re getting one of the top D men in the league for a marginal top line forward. Plus, at this point, Eberle is getting payed big money. He’s no steal in terms of dollars to production. And if Nashville’s whole motivation here is that they’re hard up for cash, taking back someone who makes 6M eliminates half the money they’re saving.

      -Hall is one of the better ones of the bunch. He looks like he could be a 30+ goal scorer if he could stay healthy. Mind you, his inability to stay healthy is a growing concern. And again he is already making 6M a year. And let’s just remember that Tyler Seguin, who’s potential and production were largely identical to Hall’s prior to the trade, only essentially brought back Loui Eriksson. So ask yourself: Do you think anyone would trade Weber for Loui Eriksson? No? Then why would they trade him for Hall?

      -Nugent-Hopkins is the best of the bunch. Still pretty green and untested though. We haven’t really seen enough out of his to say one way or the other. And while he may be a great prospect, he hasn’t exactly looked like the next Crosby. An elite #1 center, sure. That could happen. But a guy with the potential to be an elite player is NOT worth a guy who already is an elite player. Thus he alone isn’t worth Weber by any stretch.

      Realistically, Edmonton would have to offer 2 of these guys including Nugent-Hopkins or 3 of the others (and probably not Yakupov) to have a hope of landing Weber. And that won’t happen.

      • esracerx46 - Nov 15, 2013 at 9:55 PM

        I’m not one to make the shortest posts in the world. But I don’t have the time nor the energy to read your epic. That’s just absurd.

      • ikillchicken - Nov 15, 2013 at 10:53 PM

        Then don’t. Nobody is forcing you.

      • esracerx46 - Nov 15, 2013 at 11:18 PM

        Didn’t. By absurd I meant ridiculous, not idiotic. Thought I needed to clarify. I’m sure its a well thought out post, but my self diagnosed ADD isn’t gonna last the duration of it.

  2. hines86for6 - Nov 15, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    not a chance in hell.

  3. alicesrightfootesq - Nov 15, 2013 at 6:08 PM

    Could there be a more anti-Nashville type player than Yakupov? This writer is delusional. Bryz is already affecting the people Edmonton and he hasn’t even played a game yet.

  4. esracerx46 - Nov 15, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    I don’t think Nashville is as hard up for cash as is made out. As far as the Edmonton Journals article…..the Oilers didn’t “outbid” everybody. Every contract offered to Schultz was virtually the same as the entry level contract rules still applied to him. If they’re that naive to think they paid more, the entire article is hogwash.

    • hockeyflow33 - Nov 15, 2013 at 7:52 PM

      I’d like to give you bonus thumbs up for successfully using hogwash.

      • esracerx46 - Nov 15, 2013 at 9:50 PM

        Why thank you:) its an under used word that deserves more attention. It has comedic value, and also nails the point home.

  5. blackandorangeforlife - Nov 15, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    Coburn could be (should be) had for that 1st round pick,,,,What do you say Craig?

  6. hines86for6 - Nov 15, 2013 at 7:23 PM

    do people really think that just because Nashville is in a non traditional small market that Shea Weber can be had for under market value?

    he’s the best blue liner in the game under 30.

    • hawksin5 - Nov 15, 2013 at 7:38 PM

      @hines wait, I’m sorry, what? did you just call weber the best defensemen under 30?

      • esracerx46 - Nov 15, 2013 at 9:44 PM

        Best defenseman under 30 to not win a Norris. Fixed. I think the amount of help Weber would provide is overstated. Edmonton needs more than just 1 big time defenseman, and that’s keeping everything they have in place. Nashville was a playoff team with 2 big time defenseman. With 1, they have the number 4 pick. While I like Weber over Suter…. Weber is not the savior of any franchise.

    • lordfletcher - Nov 15, 2013 at 10:57 PM

      not saying this because I am a Wild fan but I would take Suter and OEL before Weber and both haven’t won the Norris

      I personally think Weber is overrated in his own zone (by a tad – he’s still a GREAT defenseman) but his shot separates him from the rest…. His skating isn’t elite either but size makes up for that… I don’t want it to sound like I am knocking him because I am not, but I don’t think he is the best under 30. Would be top3, top 5 if we factor in salary

      cheers :)

  7. martysbetter - Nov 15, 2013 at 7:39 PM

    You’d have to be insane to pass up the chance of having a Weber – Jones combo for the future, having a guy like Weber to bring Jones along is huge.

    I think we’ve seen time and time again how it takes more time for D prospects to pan out (see: Hedman, Victor – Larsson, Adam) having a partner like Weber on the blueline for these types of guys is massive.

  8. hines86for6 - Nov 15, 2013 at 7:50 PM

    yes I did because he is.

  9. vshehane - Nov 15, 2013 at 8:43 PM

    Total BS. Weber isn’t going anywhere.

  10. vshehane - Nov 15, 2013 at 8:44 PM

    Agree with Hines.

  11. 19inarow - Nov 15, 2013 at 9:21 PM

    Would Edmonton even have the cap space? With contracts for Hall, RNH, Yakupov, Eberle, Schultz, potentially Nurse, et al… $5-6.5 million range guys.

  12. President Charles Logan - Nov 15, 2013 at 9:38 PM

    the poor guy would then have to go from living in paradise to living in a dumpy oil field and salt mine town

    • broadstreetbeatdown - Nov 15, 2013 at 10:29 PM

      Nashville is far from Paradise.

      • President Charles Logan - Nov 16, 2013 at 2:10 AM

        uh its alot better then anything up north

      • broadstreetbeatdown - Nov 16, 2013 at 11:01 AM

        That is called a personal opinion.

    • lordfletcher - Nov 15, 2013 at 11:03 PM

      fun place to visit but I couldn’t imagine living there…. (unless I was rich off my buns to vacation constantly)

      Paradise is a personal choice, most love home and I can’t hate on that. So every fan see’s their home town better than it probably is to those not familiar with the culture.

      Most players want to cash their check, play hockey and then move home during the off-season, so it really doesn’t matter where you play…. obviously certain places have more pros than cons

      • President Charles Logan - Nov 15, 2013 at 11:36 PM

        sorry but Id take a much smaller paycheck to stay in tennessee then to have to live up there in that place.

  13. chotime01 - Nov 15, 2013 at 9:42 PM

    I Agree with Hines! If you.think differently then you must be delusional.

  14. muckleflugga - Nov 15, 2013 at 9:57 PM

    esracerx46

    point taken re entry level contracts…a bit black and white however

    i think it naive to suggest promises regarding playing time, stature on the team, and future promises of monetary and material benefit, often hidden in real estate transactions, are not part of the process in enticing players

    regards

    • esracerx46 - Nov 15, 2013 at 10:22 PM

      While I understand the point you’re making, only the author knows the interpretation for outbidding. Outbidding means paying more monetarily, at least in my world. Edmonton could have given more ice time and future benefits. But, I live in the black and white. I don’t live in a world trusting someone when they say if you sign with us, someday we’ll pay you more than everyone else. I don’t live in a place feeling entitled to playing time because when I signed, you said I would. Schultz never played a minute in the NHL. If he was bad, do you think the Oilers would still give him his ice time to honor their word? Unless your the author of the piece in the Edmonton journal, I think its a stretch to say that’s what the author meant. When you use a word like outbid, and expect your readers to interpret it in the way you’re thinking….well its just a stretch. One that a professional journalist shouldn’t make. I think its far more likely the author used the term outbid in a more conventional way.

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