Ever since Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber signed an offer sheet with Philadelphia, the NHL world (especially Flyer fans) have wondered if Weber would leave Nashville like his former dance partner Ryan Suter.
For a restricted free agent to sign a big money deal like Weber did, the nature of his commitment to Nashville was immediately questioned. He has been compared to New York Rangers forward Rick Nash, who wanted to get out of the small market and into the bright lights.
So now that Nashville has been struggling this season, Weber trade speculation rages. The idea of trading Weber for a All-Star caliber forward may be intriguing, but I don’t think he will be going anywhere. And he shouldn’t be either.
- Weber’s 14-year, $110 million offer sheet with the Flyers did not show disloyalty to Nashville, but rather, showed commitment: I know the offer sheet looked like Weber was trying to get out of Nashville when he signed it, but if you look beyond the initial move, it is a business move. When Weber signed a deal with Philadelphia, he opened up the possibility for Nashville to match the offer. Let’s be real for a second. If Weber did not want to play in Nashville, why would he sign a contract that could keep him there for 14 years? That’s a bad business move. Weber wanted to either play in Philly or Nashville and he was going to commit to that contract. If he’d really wanted to go somewhere else, he would have signed a one-year deal with Nashville, and after that ended, reached UFA status and subsequently signed with any of the other 29 NHL teams. His motivation was about getting paid and being secure for the next 14 years. Nashville did pay him and Weber has been a steady leader for the Preds ever since then. You can’t question his play on the ice.
- Trading Weber for a goal-scorer creates a second problem. No defense: Nashville has built its team on a defensive unit. Nashville is a team that wants to keep the scoring totals low, and the Predators grab scoring chances from great defensive play. If you trade Shea Weber for a goal scorer, you borrow from Peter to pay Paul. The offense benefits, but the defense will fall apart, because your are left with a young and inexperienced defensive corps.
- The leadership Weber provides should mean more to the organization: Quick question for you: If Weber was traded, who would be the next captain? Whoever it may be, he won’t give the same kind of quiet leadership that Weber does. The Captain does more than play defense. He is the anchor for the team, he plays the most minutes and he is the franchise player to sell to the fans. Losing Weber would be more than just losing a good hockey player, no matter what the return.
Weber isn’t going to get traded. If he does, it sends a message to the Nashville faithful that superstars on the roster aren’t welcome and there would no longer be a franchise player to sell to the fans.
Editor’s note: This is the comparison story to piece we wrote arguing the other side of the coin, that is, trading Shea Weber. That article can be read here.