Nashville Predators in Precarious Position Regarding Shea Weber’s Future

Shea Weber #6 of the Nashville Predators (Photo by Rocky W. Widner/NHL/Getty Images)
Shea Weber #6 of the Nashville Predators (Photo by Rocky W. Widner/NHL/Getty Images) /
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The risk was obvious when it happened back in 2012 when Shea Weber and the Nashville Predators agreed to a monster 14-year deal. No matter how great the player is, signing someone to that long of a contract carries a massive risk.

Now it appears that this huge contract signed almost a decade ago could come back to really put the Nashville Predators in a rough spot.

From Greg Wyshynski of ESPN, sources are saying that Weber’s future in the NHL is in doubt as he’s dealing with several injuries that could keep him from playing at all next season. To add onto that, the Montreal Canadiens are planning on leaving him unprotected in the expansion draft.

A massive contract coming back to haunt the Nashville Predators

Where the Predators come into play is they’ll be on the hook for a huge part of Weber’s remaining contract if he decides to retire and not head to long-term injured reserve instead. It will be like throwing money into a hole, and that money is close to $5M for five years:

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This situation has emerged as a major offseason storyline for the Predators, and one they have no control over their fate. They’re powerless, and if it goes the way of Weber choosing retirement, then their cap situation will take a huge blow.

Weber was a cornerstone of the franchise, just as Pekka Rinne was. They’re on the same tier together, so no one can really blame the Predators for matching that offer sheet with the Philadelphia Flyers at that time. It had to be done to retain a foundational, elite superstar like Weber.

However, this does show why long-term contracts, no matter the player, are incredibly risky and more general managers should shy away from this practice, or at least be much more frugal.

It’s also not just about this offseason and his retirement decisions. It lingers into the 2022 offseason as well, as PuckPedia points out. It goes to $6.1M per year remaining:

The Canadiens seem ready to move on as they’re not on the hook for nearly as much salary recapture as the Predators. They’re exposing Weber and freeing up more space to protect other players.

When you look at the all-time franchise statistical categories, Weber is in the top-five in all of the major ones and is the franchise’s leader in power play goals, shots and goals on ice for. This entire situation is just unfortunate for the Predators, and also for Weber.

Call me biased, but Weber still has some really good hockey left in him and I don’t see him choosing retirement if LTIR is an option. It’s the outcome to hope for not only for the Predators’ sake, but also for Weber’s career as we don’t want to see that come to an end the same offseason that another Predators legend, Rinne, also retires.

Weber put up 19 points in 48 games in the regular season, while also chipping in six points in 22 playoff games. He was a respectable defensive force for the Canadiens on their unexpected run to the Stanley Cup with 40 blocks and 72 hits.

Although clearly not the elite player he once was for many years, Weber still has a place in the NHL if he wants to keep playing once he can past these current injury issues.

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Weber is firmly on my Predators Mount Rushmore, but the outcome of this will always make us wonder if that deal should’ve ever been signed in 2012. It’s ultimately just really bad luck, and let’s hope Weber still has the itch to play and LTIR is granted.