This afternoon brought news on the Shea Weber front, but as always, a few more facts lead only to more questions!
Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada confirmed what had been rumored on Twitter for a few hours earlier today:
Shea Weber requested 1-yr deal. He submitted $8M, team $4.75. Remember: this is not like MLB, where arbitrator must pick one or other.
Now, as Jeremy at Section303 writes, obviously the Preds weren't saying Weber is only worth $4.75 million - the conventional wisdom says that arbitrators tend to pick a number between the two extremes, so this was a play on Poile's part to keep the final result at a manageable figure.
It's a shame that that's the way the process works, because it only encourages both sides to submit disingenuous figures, but there you go.
The question that jumps out at me, however, is how the two sides couldn't have agreed upon a short-term deal for between $6-7 million per season to avoid today's ugly mess (and ugly it is, trust me). Remember, each side saw the other's brief Sunday morning, and knew the figures at stake. How do they not arrive at a reasonable compromise, given all the lip-service we've heard for 12 months or more that a contract would be agreed to?
After all, they both know that the arbitrator is going to fall somewhere between their proposals, that's part of the logic behind those numbers in the first place.
Personally, I can't imagine that Poile wouldn't be prepared to go north of $6 million, considering that's what Martin Erat will make this year. It was widely expected that Weber would become the highest-paid Predator ever.
That, then, leaves the other side of the equation - was Weber's agent stuck on getting as close to $8 million as possible? Or was Weber insulted by that $4.75 million, and simply shut down?
Either way, it would appear that Long-term Damage (to use Ryan's phrase) has indeed been done to the relationship between the Predators and their captain. How they could look at those proposals and not strike a deal to avoid arbitration is deeply troubling.