Some hockey fans may be wondering what all the fuss surrounding Shea Weber is about, considering he won’t be an unrestricted free agent until 2013.
1. With Ryan Suter leaving for Minnesota, Weber may not want to stay in Nashville.
2. With the current CBA expiring in two months, Weber has a short window to sign a contract comparable to the one Ryan Suter received.
Here’s what the most well-informed hockey people, and those close to Weber, are saying.
1. Does Weber want to play in Nashville?
First things first: obviously Nashville GM David Poile is going to do everything he can to keep Weber. Poile spoke with the media on a conference call soon after Suter made his decision, saying:
“Our focus turns to our captain Shea Weber. He’s the player that we want to build our team around. He is at the top of his game, a two-time Norris Trophy finalist. He knows what he thinks of us, what we think of him and we want him in Nashville for years to come.”
Of course Nashville wants Weber back. That much we knew. Question is, how does Weber feel about re-signing, now that Suter’s gone? Pierre Lebrun wrote today:
“He’s still in disbelief,” Kevin Epp, one of Weber’s agents at Titan Sports Management, told ESPN.com Thursday. “They were so close this year in terms of the team’s chances. They really had a shot. Shea believed there was a good chance that Ryan would stay there. So, right now, Shea is still processing this news.”
Lebrun also referenced an article written by Craig Custance yesterday:
For Weber, it’ll be the first time he’s seriously had to weigh his future without Suter.
“I don’t think there’s ever been a time where he said ‘If Scenario A happens, we’re going to Scenario B,” said one NHL source close to Weber. “I don’t think he’s ever said ‘If Suter’s leaving, I’m leaving.’”
Weber’s been consistent in his approach to this situation: Let’s let this play out.
Really, we need to know what Weber wants, and we don’t yet. On the conference call, Poile was asked if he thinks Weber will be affected by Suter’s decision, he said:
“Speaking for Shea, he certainly hoped Ryan would re-sign. I know if Ryan had re-signed it would have been a lot easier to have Shea make a commitment… I’ve already talked to Shea’s representative about a longer-term contract. The process or the timing was that everyone wanted to see came down on the Suter situation.
2. How will a new CBA affect Weber?
Jim Diamond of the Examiner.com wrote an article explaining if Weber wants to cash in, he has to do it now.
Circling back to Weber, the two months remaining in the current CBA may provide him with the only opportunity he may have to become the league’s highest-paid defenseman.
Many of the contracts being handed out currently will not likely be allowed under the new CBA — whether it’s only the cap hit-lowering tails that are disallowed, or that the salary cap is lowered overall.
Diamond is right. Weber may have a year until free agency, but he’ll be smarter (and a lot richer) if he makes his decision now.
Wondering if the Canucks should attempt an offer sheet? Jason Botchford broke it down in the Province:
As a restricted free agent, if he were signed to a one-year, predatory offer sheet in the $6,268,175-$7,835,219 range, the compensation would be two first-round picks, a second and third.
Would the Predators match? Probably, but then they couldn’t trade him for a year, and next July they’d be in the exact same situation they just were with Suter.
With the CBC’s Elliotte Friedman reporting Weber won’t file for arbitration today, it certainly appears he’s seeking a long term deal. Either he signs with Nashville or he requests a trade and signs with his new team. In the meantime, that offer sheet may come.
Think Mike Gillis should go for it?