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Shea Weber contract rumors continue after hearing
- Updated: August 3, 2011
The bleary picture surrounding the Shea Weber negotiations with the Nashville Predators are beginning to clear some as more news and speculation has emerged concerning the contract negotiations between the two sides nearly 24 hours after Weber’s arbitration hearing.
Reports have surfaced that Weber’s camp asked the arbitrator for $8.5 million a season, making the 25-year-old defenseman one of the highest paid defenseman in the NHL. Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins will make $8.5 million a season while Christian Ehrhoff recently signed a free agent contract with the Buffalo Sabres that will pay him $10 million this season.
Similar news surfaced that Nashville was initially offering a contract for just over $7 million per season with terms of the deal ranging between three and seven years. During the arbitration hearing, however, Nashville asked for a lower amount in their proposal (rumored to be $4.75 million) in hopes that it would lower the arbitrator’s award to somewhere in the middle with a contract for $6.5 million or so.
Speculation continues that this whole charade could be a do-or-die moment for the Predators as Weber was unhappy that Nashville decided to take him to arbitration to begin with. Coupled with his desire to win a Stanley Cup, it’s believed that Weber is looking for a big pay day and also the assurance that Nashville is willing to spend the money to land the talent to build a championship team – something they have been reluctant to do in recent years despite their success in making the playoffs and consistently getting bounced in the early rounds.
It’s likely the arbitrator’s award will be a one-year contract, making Weber a restricted free agent again next season. However, since the Predators initiated the arbitration this year they will be unable to do so again next season. If Weber truly is unhappy with the team’s decision to take him to arbitration, this could be an interesting story to follow as the season progresses – especially if Nashville can’t re-sign Weber to a long term deal or if the team appears to be out of the playoff picture when the second half of the season hits. Nashville could opt to trade Weber at that point. The team would probably prefer to trade Weber than risk losing him for a compensation package of draft picks if an offer sheet came through next summer.
After an arbitration hearing, the arbitrator has 48-hours to deliver his award. Weber’s decision will come through by tomorrow morning at the latest.
Tell us what you think! How much do you think Weber will be awarded and how do you think this whole process will impact Weber’s future relationship with the Predators?