Why it seems unlikely that the Nashville Predators would trade Shea Weber

It’s (an understandable) dream of Oilers fans to see Shea Weber traded to Edmonton. Not only is he from Western Canada, big, strong and capable, but he’d fill the #1 defenceman hole that Edmonton has had since Chris Pronger left town.

Those dreams seem destined to go unfulfilled.

Get Used To Disappointment

Why would Nashville trade one of the league’s precious few franchise defenders? The answer always seems to be “they’re a small market club and they can’t afford him.” By their actions, though, it seems clear that the Predators have decided they can’t afford not to pay him.

The Economics of a Trade

Shea Weber signed his current contract – via a Philadelphia Flyers offer sheet – on July 19, 2012, forcing the Predators to either match and hang on to Weber for at least a year, or decline to match and accept four first-round picks in exchange for Weber’s services. The Flyers made it as difficult as possible for Nashville by structuring the contract to be extremely front-loaded.

No NHL player made more money in 2012-13 than Weber. More than that, Weber’s contract is structured to be heavily bonus-intensive – featuring a $1 million base salary and a $13 million signing bonus for each of the first four years. The signing bonuses mean that by the time Weber could be traded by the Predators, they will have paid $27 million of the $110 million on his contract – just slightly under one-quarter of his total contract in the first year.

Facing a $110 million decision, one has to think the Predators weighed the cost. None of these ramifications were unknown at the time; the Predators knew what they were getting into matching that offer sheet. If it made sense to sign him then, it’s hard to imagine they’re going to change their mind and move him after having already taken the worst lumps.

Certainly that’s the message general manager David Poile has always emphasized – asked about the possibility of a trade by CBC’s Elliotte Friedman in April, he made no secret as to his view:

We have a franchise goaltender and the best defenceman in the NHL … We are building our team around them.

Ultimately, it comes down to this: either the Predators made a terrible mistake, Poile’s being disingenuous, and the team plans to try and get a better return than four first round picks after spending $27 million for 48 games or they really have no plans to trade Weber. The latter seems more likely to be reality than the former. None of that means the Oilers shouldn’t ask, but it does mean not much is likely to come of it. 

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      • Ducey

        Come on. Thats the smartest post ever!

        Look, why don’t you focus on reality. The Oilers ideally need to get a #1 Dman. If we look at Weber (a 49th pick), OEL (6th), Doughty (2nd overall), Keith (54th) it would seem the Oilers could pick up a guy who has been drafted and has not yet become the next great defenseman or focus on drafting him themselves.

        They have the chance to pick the best defenseman not named Jones in a deep draft with their #7 pick. That guy might be able to help them in a year.

        I suggest that rather than break the bank trying to get someone next year that they focus on development.

        Take the best guy they can at #7, sign Streit to a three year deal, and trade Hemsky for another good prospect.

        Next year you have Streit, Petry, Smid, Shultz x2, and Fistric as your top 6. Potter is #7 and on the farm you have Klefbom, Marincin, Musil (who has been a beast in the playoffs), and the prospect from Hemsky. Your #7 is a year away with Gernat, Davidson, Simpson still coming.

        By midseason you might have Marincin and Klefbom playing in the NHL as needed.

        That would constitute some tremendous depth at defense and is only a year away.

          • oilerjed

            “Adam Larsson huge upside, NJ needs forwards, may be the right timing for a deal.”

            I have to say I like this idea of sending our offensive players to the East Rather then to a western conference foe.

        • GVBlackhawk

          That top 6 of Streit, Smid, NSchultz, JSchultz, Petry, and Fistric is not very good — certainly not good enough for a playoff team.

          And don’t listen to Oilers management. Klefbom and (especially) Marincin are not going to step in next year and make an impact. In fact, Marincin would likely get massacred in the NHL at this point. They should develop in the minors until their abilities reach the point that the Oilers are forced to bring them up.

          • Ducey

            You have another year of development for J Schultz, Petry and Smid and get rid of whatever BS system they had last year and they will be fine.

            Marincin is 6’5″, has decent speed, put up 30 pts in 69 games in OKC and led the team in +/-with a +20 in his rookie year. He is going to be a good player.

          • DSF

            They won’t be “fine”.

            None of that group has the tools to be a legit #1 or #2 D.

            If Junior learns how to play some defense, he might eventually be a good #2 but that is likely some years away.

            If the Oilers want to be competitive in the next 2-3 years, they need to find at least one top pairing D and they can’t afford to wait while burning through ELC’s.

            That’s why this “rebuild” has always been doomed to failure.

            Proper rebuilds are done from the backend out since D men and goaltenders take much longer to develop.

          • Ducey

            Oh no! I better start cheering for another random team!

            How about say, the Canucks? They gave up a whole 13 goals less than the Oilers. They are so much better with their #1 Dman. Who is that again?

            Maybe Columbus. DSF says they are good. Oh, wait, they didn’t make the playoffs. Maybe we can get their GM though.

            Nashville then? They have the best Dman in history and a brilliant GM. Wait, but they finished behind Edmonton and gave up more goals. Rats.

            Oh Minni. Thats right. They have the other best Dman in history and gave up so many fewer goals than the Oilers. Whats that? Yeah, 7 fewer goals.

            No way the Oilers could ever improve by 7 goals against.

            THEY ARE DOOMED!

          • DSF

            1) 13 goals over an 82 game season is about 22 goals…the difference between good and bad. And remember the Canucks fielded an AHL team in the final game allowing the Oilers to pad their stats.

            2) Dan Hamhuis…one of the best defensive defensemen in the league who also managed to score 24 points while not getting much PP time.

            3) Columbus would be a good bet. Now that their goaltending seems settled, they are absolutely loaded on D and, with 3 first round picks and too many defensemen, have the assets to shore up their forward ranks.

            4) Nashville is in a tough spot after the Flyers launched their all out assault but, as you say, they have a brilliant GM and I’d wager they will be back in the playoffs before the Oilers.

            5) Minnesota is still a work in progress having turned over 40% of their roster in one offseason but they went from a goal differential of -49 to -5 in one offseason so they certainly appear to be on the right track. When you consider how much depth they have in their prospect pool, its’ a good thing the Oilers won’t be in their division next season.

            Bear in mind that Jonas Brodin is only 19 and already is a better defenseman than any Oiler and that they have Matt Dumba about to make his pro debut.

          • The Soup Fascist

            So DSF, when a team is picking first overall for 3 yrs straight, and starting a rebuild, what do you do if the majority of top ranked prospects are forwards in those years. Like they were with oilers?

          • Your correct because most/all felt he would not come over last year . He’s 6-1 and 195 by the way – I stand corrected . Currently slotted at ranking 39 . Maybe same problem with Nicushkin to be honest – risky pick no doubt .

            I’ll add another pick Oilers by MacT. own admission is 38th ranked Eric Comrie for goal and could be a good second round pick .

          • The Soup Fascist

            I think we’ve been drafting pretty good in late late rounds in the last few years. Where we’re falling down is in the second and third, likely because there seems to have been an upper management mandate for a coke machine. I would imagine the scouts are doing there job but are being overruled by the Oilers mission to get a Lucic of their very own.

            I would be way, way more upset at blowing a pick in the first round over our inability to find Jamie Benns in the draft.

            Sam Gagner 6th in 2007 (second in points from his draft year)
            Jordan Eberle 22nd in 2008
            Paajarvi 10th in 2009 (we missed out on some good D, but this is still a strong pick)
            Hall 1st in 2010
            Nuge 1st in 2011
            Klefbomb 19 in 2011 (looking at what was drafted above and below him, this might have been a great pick)
            Yak 1st in 2012

            So which would you rather, us blowing these first rounds picks or us not finding gems in the depth picks?

          • DSF

            1) Gagner was NOT a great pick.

            PPG

            Couture – .720

            Voracek – .624

            Gagner – .623

            Pacioretty – .621

            Gagner has more raw points because he was gifted huge, prime, sheltered minutes early on. And that doesn’t even take into account Shattenkirk and Subban who both would have been a better pick.

            2) Eberle is covering his bet but Derek Stepan, who was selected last in the second round is quickly overtaking him. A solid pick but Stepan is the steal of that draft.

            3) The Paajarvi pick is almost a “whiff” at this point.

            Kulikov, Leddy, Johansson, O’Reilly, Silvferberg, Clifford, Smith and Foligno would have been much better picks and all of them were selected much later than Magnus.

            4) Klefbom has yet to play a pro game in North America but I’m thinking he’ll have a tough time surpassing Brandon Saad in the foreseeable future.

            The Oilers didn’t blow the #1 picks too badly but they are hardly killing it with any other picks.

          • Wax Man Riley

            You may be right on those points, but, DSF, you are picking out random players that teams took flyers on (Stepan?). Anybody can do that for ANY team!

            Do you ACTUALLY think the teams that took those players have such better scouts? Or did they get lucky?

            Horcoff #99. Petry #45. Kyle Brodziak #215. Stoll #36. Greene #44. Every team gets lucky in the latter rounds. You can’t use that as conclusive evidence.

          • Wax Man Riley

            In 2005, Montreal chose Kostitsyn 200 overall. 353 games so far. they hit it out of the park with that pick. Do they have amazing scouts? I would say so!!!!!

            Or maybe they got lucky and if they chose Bliznak instead, then Vancouver would have had the best scouts because they got Kostitsyn.

          • DSF

            Montreal has great scouts.

            In the Gagner draft (2007) the Habs got McDonagh, Pacioretty, Subban and Jannik Webber.

            The Oilers, despite having THREE first round picks, ended up with Gagner, Plante, Nash, Omark and Kytnar.

            That’s really “unlucky”.

            The 2009 and 2010 drafts are even more “unlucky”.

            How is that Mitch Moroz pick looking now?

          • Montreal has great scouts.

            In the Gagner draft (2007) the Habs got McDonagh, Pacioretty, Subban and Jannik Webber.

            The Oilers, despite having THREE first round picks, ended up with Gagner, Plante, Nash, Omark and Kytnar.

            In 2008 they drafted Danny Kristo, Steve Quailer, Jason Missiaen, Maxim Trunev, and Patrick Johnson.

            Though I suppose in 2009 they struck gold with Louis Leblanc right?

          • DSF

            In the last 6 years, disregarding the 1st overall picks who could have been selected by Maggie the Money, the Oilers have drafted TWO NHL players and one of those players, Paajarvi, would be in the AHL on any good NHL team.

            In the same time frame, Montreal has drafted 7 players who are already established NHL players with Tinordi and Beaulieu very close.

            That the Habs accomplished that while drafting much lower than the Oilers gives you a pretty good idea about the skill of their amateur scouts.

            Good grief…the Oilers had THREE first round picks in 2007 and all of them look like mistakes.

          • So the Oilers have to throw out their first rounder while Montreal gets to keep them?

            If you take away their last three first round picks like you want to do for Edmonton you are left with ONLY 2007 picks and Gallagher.

            What have the Oilers picked since 2007 if you subtract their last three firsts? MPS, Eberle, Gagner, with Hartikainen and Lander with a shot at becoming regulars and a hndful of Defensemen with a reasonable chance at becoming NHL players.

            You want to stack the deck on MTLs favor before comparing, but when you do the comparison fairly there is not much to separate the teams.

            Subban was a fantastic find, but other than that I don’t see the evidence of a vastly superior scouting group.

          • Wax Man Riley

            DSF wrote:

            In the last 6 years, disregarding the 1st overall picks who could have been selected by Maggie the Money, the Oilers have drafted TWO NHL players and one of those players, Paajarvi, would be in the AHL on any good NHL team.

            In the same time frame, Montreal has drafted 7 players who are already established NHL players with Tinordi and Beaulieu very close.

            That the Habs accomplished that while drafting much lower than the Oilers gives you a pretty good idea about the skill of their amateur scouts.

            Good grief…the Oilers had THREE first round picks in 2007 and all of them look like mistakes.

            So the Oilers have to throw out their first rounder while Montreal gets to keep them?

            If you take away their last three first round picks like you want to do for Edmonton you are left with ONLY 2007 picks and Gallagher.

            What have the Oilers picked since 2007 if you subtract their last three firsts? MPS, Eberle, Gagner, with Hartikainen and Lander with a shot at becoming regulars and a hndful of Defensemen with a reasonable chance at becoming NHL players.

            You want to stack the deck on MTLs favor before comparing, but when you do the comparison fairly there is not much to separate the teams.

            Subban was a fantastic find, but other than that I don’t see the evidence of a vastly superior scouting group.

            BOOM!!!!

          • Wax Man Riley

            I am not defending the Oiler’s draft. Not at all. Kytnar?? Plante?/ Nash?? WTF Oilers!??!?!

            I’m just defending the random player picks to make a point.

          • Your really bad at this game. You realize in a “redraft” that MPS and Gagner would be selected around the same draft position.
            Now the Nash and Plante picks are terrible. But you wouldn’t be insulting our current team. So for alk the examples of how incompetent the oilers are. You have managed to use the one matrix that makes it seem that they mayhave known what they were doing.

            Come on. Tell me about how Parise could have been ours but we took JFJ instead. Or lets discuss Horcoffs contract.

            Good grief your slipping, or getting lazy.

          • DSF

            Well, this actually started before the last 3 years.

            Had the Oilers taken Kulikov instead of Paajarvi, they would be a lot farther ahead.

            Instead, in the last 5 drafts, they’ve taken 4 wingers and 1 centre. Getting Klefbom in the Penner trade may help but you have to wonder how his injuries will affect his development.

            Considering how the Oilers have drafted, I think it’s almost inevitable that at least one of the wunderkids will have to be traded for a top pairing defenseman unless they can get one in free agency.

            If they don’t, I can’t see them going too far.

          • GVBlackhawk

            Petry, Smid, and the Schultzes are fine in the 3-6 positions. None of them are top pairing guys at this point; they are not prepared to handle the opposition toughs.

            Marincin posted some good numbers in the AHL (partially aided by playing with JSchultz in the first half), but that does not tell the whole story. He has some kinks in his defensive game that have to be ironed out before making the jump to NHL.

            The Oilers have been rushing prospects to the big club for so long now that many people think this is the norm. The most successful teams let their players develop in the minors for 2-3 years before they bring them up.

        • Quicksilver ballet

          Look, why don’t you focus on reality. [quote}

          Deals are made for many reasons Ducey. Some players/contracts are sold under wishes of ownership/group, and some are just old fashioned hockey deals. All are still deals, no matter what prompts a deal. Getting themselves out from under this financial burden is reason enough to believe this is at all a possibility. If they act in the next 12 months they can still rid themselves of 75% of the value of that 110 million dollar contract.

          Is this not the said reality you’ve mentioned here? I like you Ducey (gives Ducey a head wash) but we’ve put up with a lot of ship here these last 7 yrs. This needs to change.

          You have to give me credit Ducey. The vision of desperate Oiler fan on his knees begging for his monies worth, is appropriate at this time, is it not? Lets just milk it for the summer.

          • The Soup Fascist

            I watched the replay of NC State 1983 NCAA Basketball championship story on 30 for 30 yesterday. What I got out of that was:

            1. It is good to think about your dreams every day – and you should dream big dreams.

            2. Don’t ever give up the fight (I just realized that Valvano may have stolen that line from “The Untouchables”, but it was way more powerful coming from him than Costner)

            So Quickie, you can dream that dream and no one should have any problem with it. And MacT should inquire about the opportunity – more than once – and “fight” for an elite defenseman.

            As long as MacT does not focus on an unlikely homerun to forego a bunch of singles (a’la Tamblowelinni putting all their eggs in the Marian Hossa basket a couple of seasons ago) – what is the harm?

            **OK I think I used up analogies / references to about 5 different sports. Do I get an Oodle Noodle prize pack, or what?