Monday, May 23, 2011
There is a clear number one priority for the Nashville Predators this off-season. They must sign Shea Weber.
Weber is one of the best defenseman in the world, and has been nominated for the Norris Trophy this year. He has won an Olympic Gold Medal and has one of the hardest shots in the NHL. He's great defensively and plays a strong physical game. But there is more to Weber than that.
He is the captain. He's the one that everybody looks up to in the locker room. It was under his leadership that the Predators had the best season in franchise history. He's a home grown Nashville Predator. Most of all, he's the face of the franchise.
David Poile simply has to do whatever that he conceivably can to make sure that Weber stays in Nashville. Weber has said that he loves Nashville and that a deal is "going to get done." For the Preds to be successful in the near future, it has to get done.
As David Climer pointed out in his article on Monday, failure to sign Weber could mean disastrous results for the Preds.
Nashville is on the verge of becoming an elite team with their core of Weber, Ryan Suter, and Pekka Rinne. The ideal situation would be to get Weber and Suter signed at the same time. However, I don't think that's likely to happen. It's really about how much money each of them wants.
With the news of Brian Rafalski's retirement, there are going to be lots of rumors of Weber going to Detroit. Personally, I find that ludicrous. However, allowing Weber to receive an offer sheet from another team could potentially be dangerous. Furthermore, allowing Weber to become an Unrestricted Free Agent after next year would be bad news for Preds fans.
I think that Weber and Nashville are going to get a deal done, preferrably before July 1st. He has stated that he isn't going anywhere and that this is the only place he wants to play. I believe him. However, that doesn't mean that players haven't lied before, or that complications can't emerge to hinder that process.
My gut tells me that a deal will be done in June. Pred Nation will breathe a sigh of relief when that day comes. He is too important for the future of the franchise to let go. The Preds don't have any other option but to re-sign him. Failure to do so would set this franchise back, and the foundation that has been laid would be utterly worthless.
Things will certainly get interesting over the next few weeks if Weber still isn't signed. Questions and speculation will raise astronomically, and Pred Nation will become skeptical. However, I don't see a huge reason to panic.
"It's only a matter of time before something gets done," Weber said. Nashville fans hope that time is soon.
Posted by Robby Stanley at 11:44 PM