The past week has been enough to mess with the mind of any Preds' fan. Speculation has run rampant over Captain Shea Weber's future as a Nashville Predator, and the fact that no deal was made before arbitration has left fans dazed and confused.
General Manager David Poile still has his work cut out for him if he wants to lock up Weber to a long-term deal. On top of that, Poile still has to try and work out a deal with Ryan Suter and Pekka Rinne. Yes, the long-term future of the Nashville Predators is a little more clouded today than it was even a week ago. However, that doesn't mean that doom and gloom need to set in just yet.
A new season of hockey is fastly approaching, and as it stands, the Predators are going to have an opportunity to be a pretty successful hockey team this year. Most of last year's pieces are still in place, and Poile has made it clear that he will go after a top six forward at some point during the season for added offensive help.
Niclas Bergfors will join this year's squad, and Preds' fans hope he is the 2011-12 version of Sergei Kostitsyn. The progression of players like Kostitsyn, Patric Hornqvist, and Colin Wilson will certainly be a key to taking the Predators to the next level towards a Stanley Cup.
While this off season certainly hasn't been an easy one, by no means is it the end of the world for the Predators. I'll be the first one to tell you that Shea Weber needs to be in Nashville for as long as possible. But, winning certainly goes a long way toward making that happen. The Preds are going to be in a good position to win this year. That could be all it takes to convince Weber that Nashville is a place that can be a consistent Stanley Cup contender.
I know it seems dark at the moment, but suck it up. There's hockey to be played and a Stanley Cup to be won.