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Would it make sense for Nashville to trade Weber?

Aug 9, 2014, 8:20 PM EDT

Shea Weber Getty Images

Shea Weber is the face of the Predators’ franchise, the team captain, and one of the best defensemen in the league. So why would they trade him?

If you asked Predators GM David Poile, his response would be rather simple: We wouldn’t.

“We’re keeping him, we’re building our franchise around him,” Poile said in June. He added, “Why wouldn’t we build our team around him?”

Poile’s denials haven’t been enough to kill the speculation surrounding Weber’s future though and part of the problem is that there are legitimate answers to his question. For starters, the Predators are a small market team and the 14-year, $110 million offer sheet that Weber signed with Philadelphia — which Nashville matched to retain his rights — wasn’t built for Nashville. If anything, it was structured to make it as hard as possible for the Predators to keep him.

Weber’s contract is a relic of the old CBA in the sense that it’s severely front-loaded. He will earn $14 million annually for two more seasons and then $12 million annually for another two campaigns after that. However, his cap hit is roughly $7.9 million, which is very reasonable in this market. The wealthier teams in the league would gladly stomach his actual salary to get Weber at that cap hit and if Nashville ever decided to trade him, they would likely get a great return.

Which might make sense given that they have a promising young defensive core beyond Weber, with blueliners Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, and Seth Jones potentially leading the charge. A Weber trade would still make the Predators worse in the short-term, but if they’re not a great bet to make the playoffs in the near future anyways, is that really much of a sacrifice?

Which brings us to the main reason the Weber rumors aren’t dead: Nashville hasn’t been competitive lately. When a team struggles, their high-profile veteran players are exposed to the rumor mill. In Weber’s case, that has been amplified because it was initially suggested that part of the reason Weber signed with Philadelphia in the first place was that he didn’t want to be part of a rebuilding effort.

Since then Weber has been upbeat about spending his career in Nashville and optimistic about the team’s future, but you have to wonder if his tone will change if the Predators’ moves this summer fail to produce results.

With that in mind, the next season or two could be of particular importance in defining Nashville’s future. Despite the financial burden and the possible return, Poile has indeed been building the Predators around Weber. Rumors aside, it would be surprising if Poile traded Weber unless the situation in Nashville got worse or Weber got tired of waiting for the Predators to get better.

  1. ravenscaps48 - Aug 9, 2014 at 8:39 PM

    Man, I would LOVE to see this player in Red, White, and Blue!

    • alicesrightfootesq - Aug 9, 2014 at 8:50 PM

      Yeah I wish he was American, too.

  2. bcsteele - Aug 9, 2014 at 8:49 PM

    Okay I’ll be the crazy one…

    I say you do. Small market with that contract. Seth Jones coming along with Rinna between the pipes…

    Get some more offense!

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Aug 9, 2014 at 11:28 PM

      Not crazy. I can’t even imagine the haul the Preds could command for Weber. It would literally take every roster player from the Leafs to land him (and even the Poile might balk).

  3. blackheart78 - Aug 9, 2014 at 8:52 PM

    I have commented numerous times on how David Poile keeps fielding (yes I know hockey is played on the ice) a team that has great defensive depth and how at some point if it’s not working as far as winning and making a dent in the playoffs someone is going to have to be traded. That being said I’m not sure if I were Poile I would trade Weber unless a franchise like player was coming back in return. Players like Shea Weber are few and far between nowadays in the NHL. It still boggles my mind that the Predators drafted Seth Jones. Granted the kid is going to be a stud d-man but Nashville needs someone to score at some point and could’ve taken Sean Monahan, or Elias Lindholm. I can honestly see a year from now if the Preds are not making significant progress a huge change could be happening in Nashville. Ok I’m finished… :p

  4. areaman714 - Aug 9, 2014 at 8:55 PM

    Trade him. The West, at the moment, probably has seven or eight of the best teams in the NHL. The Preds likely won’t be able to compete for another three to five years with or without Weber.

  5. capsnbohs23 - Aug 9, 2014 at 9:51 PM

    Mike Green for Weber, dont even think about it Nash, just sign on the dotted line…. :)

  6. howintensive - Aug 9, 2014 at 10:53 PM

    The problem with a team trading for Weber for the long-term is that the team will be forced to pay cap recapture penalties until the guy retires. He will be costing the team more in cap hit the longer he goes.

  7. Hard to BeLeaf - Aug 9, 2014 at 11:38 PM

    Tough call…

    On one hand I would keep him. The cap hit on his contract looks like a steal now. The rate salaries are skyrocketing it’s only going to look better in the future… Plus, he’s signed for such a long term you can rebuild around him. You can’t just replace a Dman that good.

    Then on the other hand, some teams might make some pretty insane offers to get a perennial Norris candidate. Can’t hurt to hear them out. If they do trade him the sooner the better. Bottom out this year and go for the McDavid/Eichel lottery. That would speed up a rebuild. Should be easy to bottom out in that division too. There’s a lot of games against the Hawks, Wild, Blues, Avs and Stars. Winning will be tough with or without Weber.

    Tough decision for sure… but If you do trade him, might as well send him to Toronto… :)

  8. titansbro - Aug 9, 2014 at 11:42 PM

    The deal is front loaded so why would you trade him after you’ve paid the insane yearly salary for the first couple years. His contract is only going to get more affordable as he plays it out. Answer? You don’t. I mean, unless someone is offering Sid Crosby or Toews or something silly like that you keep the guy.

    • sizzle299 - Aug 10, 2014 at 12:44 AM

      Exactly, they already swallowed the poison pill

    • ray2013 - Aug 10, 2014 at 4:52 PM

      After paying that huge salary for as long as they have, there is absolutely no reason to trade him. He’s a legit top-3 dman in the world. There is no way they get close to value back for him. I hep they quit these stories.

    • chanceoffleury - Aug 10, 2014 at 8:43 PM

      And this thought process that he’s lying about wanting to stay in Nashville is silly as well. I mean, I’m sure everyone would rather play for a winning team than a losing team, that’s a no brainer. But Weber and his agent aren’t stupid. Why would he have signed a 14 year offer sheet that he knew Nashville would have the opportunity to match if he didn’t mind the possibility of staying in Nashville? If he didn’t want to stay in Nashville he could have just went to arbitration or signed a bridge contract with Nashville and then went to the FA market like Suter did. Because if there was even a small sense of doubt that he would hate playing there it was stupid to sign a deal that would leave him at the Preds whim for the next 14 years. Because he doesn’t have a NTC either. Who’s to say Nashville doesn’t send him somewhere even worse?

  9. drivemekrejci - Aug 10, 2014 at 12:26 AM

    Chara. Boychuk, Spooner, and a first. Might be overpaying really, but it’d be worth it. I love Hamilton, but I’m not sure he’ll ever be the number one guy when Chara retires.

    • Moop - Aug 10, 2014 at 1:09 AM

      Absolutely not.

      1. That’s a dumb deal for the Predators in all aspects. Chara doesn’t have many seasons left, spending them on a team going nowhere is not where he should be. Boychuk’s contract is up soon and odds are he wouldn’t re-sign in a place like Nashville. Spooner will hopefully develop into a solid top six center but he’s not going to be Sidney Crosby, which is what the Predators would want in return if they traded Weber.

      2. That’s a dumb deal for the Bruins; they have a good thing going, don’t blow up the roster/trade your best prospect for one guy, even if it is Shea Weber. If the second half of last season and the playoffs wasn’t enough to show you that Dougie has what it takes to be a great all around defenseman then you’re in for a surprise this season.

      • drivemekrejci - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:36 AM

        A dumb deal for the Preds? Chara would help their young D develop more than Weber ever could. Boychuk’s contract may be up but the Preds got some good offensive talent this summer and I think Boychuk would be a great addition to their core D.

        I think Hamilton will be great. Just not a bonafide #1. Top pairing guy, sure, but not elite.

        Spooner is exactly something the Preds need as well. I bet all of my downvotes are from Bruins fans which I find laughable. Boychuk is gone either way, Chara is declining, Spooner will never have a top spot on this roster, and so be it. I’d rather see some of our D go instead of our forwards… Including Marchand. Weber/Hamilton for the foreseeable future would give us an unbelievable boost. Idk, I’d just like to see Chara’s contract disappear for what he is now.

  10. tdrusher225 - Aug 10, 2014 at 12:32 AM

    Absolutely. This team is still a couple years removed from being a legit Cup contender (optimistically). So if they look at Seth Jones as a future #1 defenseman then it would be well worth it to acquire the assets for the team to build around in the coming years. Especially considering the kind of haul you could get for arguably the best defenseman in the game.

  11. phillyphanatic77 - Aug 10, 2014 at 1:34 AM

    Truly elite, two-way defensemen, in their prime, rarely (if ever) get moved. They just don’t. Maybe in 5 years but right now the asking price would be so astronomical that any contending team wishing to acquire him would probably have to give away the most important parts of their contending roster. This is why the Flyers gave him the offer sheet to begin with, they couldn’t work out a reasonable deal with Poile so they decided to put his back against a wall. Those few days when it looked like Weber was probably gonna end up in orange and black were almost my happiest as a Flyers fan. Then just as quickly it was equally devastating. I don’t think he’s going anywhere.

    Right now the Preds have what can be an elite blueline; they should keep it together and do what they can to make their offense respectable. Ribiero, Roy, and Jokinen just aren’t the answer IMO.

  12. lateralous - Aug 10, 2014 at 7:58 AM

    Malkin for Weber. Both teams get exactly what they need.

    • flyerspsu - Aug 10, 2014 at 11:58 AM

      It would take more than Malkin to get weber

    • killhowe - Aug 10, 2014 at 3:04 PM

      Malkin would bolt back to the KHL before playing for the Preds, which sucks. It would be nice to see, but these are the kind of trades that just doesn’t happen anymore.

      • chanceoffleury - Aug 10, 2014 at 10:04 PM

        Let’s pretend for a second that a trade like this would even be considered by both parties.

        Malkin wouldn’t have to bolt for the KHL, he just wouldn’t accept that trade in the first place. I actually don’t think it would be *that* terrible of a deal for the Pens since they save 1.5 million in cap space plus get 4 more years out of the player. They’d essentially be switching from a two headed monster at forward to a two headed monster at D.

        But that being said, I think people underestimate how much Malkin likes being the 1B behind Crosby. He gets all the glory of being “one of the best in the world” without any of the media work and half the team accountability that guys like Crosby, Toews, Ovi, etc. have to put up with. It’s really a perfect situation for somebody like him who still has a considerable language barrier but is still wanting to be constantly on the radar as one of the best. Any finger pointing still goes to Crosby before anyone, the expectations and pressure go to Crosby first. But Malkin gets to show up and go on a playoff tear and win the Conn Smythe. He gets to be the hero for carrying the team when Crosby get hurt. He can go on goal slumps and nobody really seriously questions it unless Crosby goes on one too.

        Not to mention there’s more opportunity for success in Pittsburgh right now. Even though the Pens are tight against the cap, they’re gonna find a way to win. Despite flipping the front office this summer, the expectation’s did not change at all. A SC Finals berth is the expectation, and losing to anyone that isn’t LA or Chicago if they get there is probably not much of an option either. Even if trades of players like that happened, Nashville doesn’t have enough to offer Malkin. He’s got a pretty cushy situation in Pittsburgh when all is said and done. Would he give it all up for an extra, what, 1-1.5 minutes of ice time a night? He gets a lot more ice time by being a 1B on a team that’s still playing deep into April/May/June than he gets being a 1A on a team that’s golfing by April 11th.

  13. prov1x - Aug 10, 2014 at 11:06 AM

    Dead horse. Quit beating it.

  14. flyerspsu - Aug 10, 2014 at 11:57 AM

    No, Nashville just payed an absurd $28 million to Weber over the last 2 years in crazy bonuses, it wouldn’t make sense at all for them to trade him now, maybe in like 6 years when’s he’s older and Jones has stepped in as the #1

  15. rsmaggiemae - Aug 10, 2014 at 1:11 PM

    Just let Weber make the decision in about 3-4 years even with big time money, he will want to leave when the Preds get no where and dont even make the playoffs.
    As he gets older he will want a team where there is very good possibility of a cup win and with the Preds with no real offensive threat dont see it coming soon
    so maybe he will tire of not even going to the playoffs and want to get out of Nashville.
    No offense to Nashville, went to a game there for the Wild. and I thought I was back in the civil war era at the game… huge difference in the crowd in Nashville versus the Wild fans
    It was also just to hot for hockey at that time… not -40 below with 50 inches of snow on the ground, now thats hockey weather!! cant wait for the season to start

  16. cliffatola - Aug 10, 2014 at 3:34 PM

    The situations will all be clearer once Laviolette gets to put his team on the ice, if they trend up he stays if they make no progress he goes.

  17. inbullieswetrust - Aug 11, 2014 at 5:22 PM

    Weber has it in his claus if he was to be traded. He has the right to choose where. Can’t trade him to a team he doesn’t want to go to. Philly would be his first choice. That is why Homer put out a huge contract for him. Team’s owner told the new GM. If he’s on the block do whatever it takes to get him. Poile being best friends with a few Flyers Old GM. I bet there is something happening behind closed doors. I can see the Flyers trading B. Schenn, his brother Luke or LeCavalier and Coburn includes two drafts for Weber. We will see. Poile is not keeping Weber from what I hear

    • hallforpresident - Aug 13, 2014 at 4:08 AM

      Keep dreaming, Coburn, the Schenns, picks and Lecavalier are still not even close to enough for Weber; Philly would need to gut half their roster to get him which kind of defeats the purpose of trading for him.

      Also, there is ZERO trade clauses in Weber’s contract, and if he did have one, what makes you think that Philly would be at the top of his list? My guess is it would be Chicago, LA, or Pittsburgh.

    • cliffatola - Aug 13, 2014 at 4:23 AM

      There is nothing on capgeek that says he has any sort of movement clause in his contract, I am not saying he doesn’t but a typically reliable source has no info on it.

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