The Nashville Predators took a week to decide on the future of their captain, restricted free agent defensemen Shea Weber. In the end they matched the gaudy contract extended by the Philadelphia Flyers and signed by the 105+mph shooting blue liner. It was the difference of being put between the proverbial rock and hard place.
On the one hand they could let the stud d-man, who is entering his prime, walk and collect on the four first round picks that would be delivered as compensation by the Flyers. This would put them in complete rebuilding mode, something the city and fans in Nashville may not have patience for, especially when hockey hungry cities are looking to poach struggling American clubs and make them theirs. (See Winnipeg)
On the other hand they claim what was rightfully theirs in the first place and match the offer, breaking the bank, but keeping the cornerstone of the foundation set in place alongside franchise goalie Pekka Rinne.
This is not as simple of a decision as it may sound. By signing the tender Weber made it clear that he either wants to leave Nashville, which lost his stud D partner Ryan Suter to a record breaking deal to Minnesota on July 4, or just be paid so much that he didn’t think the Preds would give that to him without the threat of losing him. Regardless, some bridges are probably singed by this point.
The Predators are now locked up with Weber for the next 14 seasons. They cannot trade him until after this next season at the earliest should he be a disgruntled employee. Meaning it will be interesting to watch what transpires with Weber and the Preds in 2012 for certain. In the interim, the team seems to be intent on filling voids lost on both offense and defense by throwing some more money around. Unfortunately for the Predators there isn’t much left on the open market this season.