Tim Wharnsby of the CBC just broke the following on Twitter:
Nashville's Shea Weber is awarded a $7.5 million salary arbitration.
While the number is a tad higher than I would have expected, it's not completely out of the ballpark, and sets the table for an interesting set of choices for David Poile.
#6 / Defenseman / Nashville Predators
Aug 14, 1985
|2010 - Shea Weber||82||16||32||48||7||56||6||1||3||254||6.3|
Based on the lineup listed below, the current total payroll for 2011-12 is $49.9 million, leaving a few million available to fill out the roster, based on previous statements by David Poile that salary for the team would be going up this season.
Forwards: David Legwand, Martin Erat, Mike Fisher, Patric Hornqvist, Sergei Kostitsyn, Colin Wilson, Jordin Tootoo,Blake Geoffrion, Cal O`Reilly, Nick Spailng, Jerred Smithson, Matt Halischuk, Niclas Bergfors, and the J.P. Dumont buyout.
Defense: Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, Kevin Klein, Francis Bouillon, Brett Lebda, Jonathon Blum, and Tyler Sloan.
Goal: Pekka Rinne and Anders Lindback.
You can shuffle some of the secondary names around (Sloan for Teemu Laakso, etc.), but those moves have a marginal effect on the overall salary level.
What Should David Poile Do Now?
The big question, of course, is where the Preds go from here. Do they hope to mend fences and get a long-term extension agreed to? Unfortunately, I don't see that as realistic.
If they haven't already, I'd suggest that a frank discussion takes place as soon as possible, to determine whether Weber really wants to stay in Nashville. If not, Poile should place word around the league that he's available.
Send those GM's off on their August vacations to muse over the possibility of adding one of the league's top defensemen to their lineup, and spend September angling for the best deal before training camps open.
Given all the maneuvers that Poile went through to clear out salary room this summer, it would seem that the money is there and available to meet Shea's needs. But if he's not confident in making a long-term commitment here, then Poile's mandate is get the highest return possible when he leaves.
Note: Thanks to PredsOddManRush on Twitter for clarifying that per Section 50.5f (iv) of the CBA, since this is a one-year contract Shea and the Preds can't sign an extension until January 1.