One of the biggest storylines last summer was the status of Shea Weber as a restricted free agent and whether or not the Nashville Predators would pony up the dough in order to retain him. It took a massive offer sheet from the Philadelphia Flyers, but they eventually chose to keep him around.
In the less than one calendar year, the Predators have forked over nearly $30 million to the All Star defenseman, but there’s still a long way to go. It didn’t do much good as the Preds missed the playoffs in a season that included a pretty disappointing performance from Weber.
Some of that was adjusting to playing without Ryan Suter. But after a miserable start, which included an uncharacteristic absence on the stat sheet, Weber did manage to pick up his play later on in the season. He’s still one of the best in the game, but was unfortunately stuck in a pretty poor team overall.
Part of the reason that this team experienced such a decline was not only the departure of Suter, but the fact that being hampered with the Weber contract inhibits their ability to make all of the necessary moves, playing in the market that they do. Which has prompted some trade speculation, similar to last year.
The Predators signed Weber for a reason. But that doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t trade him this summer if given the chance. He’ll be eligible for trade in late July, a year after the initial signing of his new contract. You can bet that teams will be calling to see what it might take to acquire him.
Whether or not the Preds will try and move him remains to be seen. They could take back quite a haul, and probably improve their club a great deal through a Weber trade. They could get top offensive talent back, while still having a potential no. 1 d-man in the likes of Roman Josi.
Trading him might be the right move for the franchise, both from a financial standpoint and for the quality of their roster overall. Whether or not that happens is something we’ll have to wait to see. When July rolls around, you can bet that the Weber rumors will heat up at least a bit.