I doubt Nashville GM David Poile has taken leave of his financial senses to a point where he’ll put Shea Weber on the trade block now, but if he did, should Edmonton GM Craig MacTavish offer a package of players including Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Taylor Hall to get in on the action?
It’s an intriguing question – a possibility that’s far-fetched from where I sit because of the money the Predators have already paid Weber in bonuses on his 14-year, $110-million contract – given the needs of both teams. Nashville desperately needs forwards who can score and the Oilers need, among other things, the stud first-pairing blueliner Weber most certainly is.
It’s a question that’s been posed, discussed and debated more than once around here and on the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260. It was one that was fodder again today down the dial on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer.
Stauffer asked guest Jim Matheson of The Journal if he’d trade a package that included Hall or Nugent-Hopkins – not both – defenseman Jeff Petry and Edmonton’s first pick at the 2014 Entry Draft for Weber. Matheson said he’d consider it. Stauffer’s take was it wasn’t a deal he’d make.
What say you?
PROS AND CONS
At 28, Weber is squarely in his prime. There’s no question he’s one of the top three defensemen in the NHL. Big, physical and skilled with an absolute cannon of a shot from the blue line. Weber is, without question, the kind of player every team, not just the Oilers, wants and needs.
If there’s a bit of a downside, it’s Weber’s contract. His $7.857 million cap hit isn’t a problem, especially with the salary cap expected to go up, but his deal runs through 2025-26, taking him to age 40. It’s heavily front-loaded, of course – he has bonus money owing through 2017-18 – with a real salary of just $1 million in the final three years.
While those numbers aren’t a major concern, they are a consideration. Weber will earn a salary of $6 million in 2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22 when he’s aged 33-36. So, Weber has, what, five or six more prime years remaining? Seven?
While Weber could slip a bit over the next six or seven years, he’ll still be a bonafide first-pairing guy eating up quality minutes in that span. As an aside, he’d also provide some shelter for a youngster like Justin Schultz and kids on the way like Oscar Klefbom and Darnell Nurse. He could mentor Martin Marincin. The importance of that shouldn’t be dismissed.
THE WAY I SEE IT
Is adding Weber going to make the Oilers Stanley Cup contenders now? No. Might they be contenders in the five, six or seven prime years he has left? You would like to think so, assuming MacTavish addresses needs the Weber deal, as framed, doesn’t. Hmm.
Trading away Hall takes the team’s most dynamic offensive player off the left side. Trading RNH leaves coach Dallas Eakins without his most creative offensive player and a power play catalyst. It also leaves the Oilers beyond weak down the middle. Who is the first-line centre? How about the second?
Petry? He’s not the stumblebum a lot of fans make him out to be. On most teams, he’d be a fourth or fifth defenseman. He’s asked to play too many minutes here. That’s not his fault, even if it is his problem. I have no problem moving him. What about that first-round pick? Who does that turn out to be? Sam Reinhart? Sam Bennett? Aaron Ekblad?
If I’m MacTavish, I do that deal, preferably with Hall rather than Nugent-Hopkins. I happily include Petry and I cross my fingers moving that first pick doesn’t come back to bite me down the road. As for Poile, would he consider the deal as spit-balled today? That’s an entirely different question.
WHILE I’M AT IT
. . . Count me among those who have Ales Hemsky a goner by the trade deadline, which falls Wednesday next week.
MacTavish won’t get great value for Hemsky as a rental, but there’s no chance he’ll re-sign here. Getting something for Hemsky is better than nothing – a prospect, please, not a draft pick. John Shannon of Sportsnet has mentioned Detroit. Makes sense. I can see Phoenix in the mix.
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.