Nashville Predators Trade Rumors: More Shea Weber lust in Edmonton
You can't blame him, I suppose.
When you're stuck watching an Edmonton Oilers team that can't find their way out of the darkness once again, you'd probably spend most of your time wondering if a franchise-transforming trade was just around the corner, wouldn't you? With the 2014 NHL Trade Deadline coming up on March 5th, speculation will run rampant over the next nine days.
Tonight, Edmonton Journal columnist Jim Matheson is banging the drums for a Shea Weber-to-the-Oilers trade again, speculating as to what assets Edmonton might have to give up in order to land the stud blueliner they've lacked since 2006. Of course, it's only been 3 months since Matheson wrote an almost identical column, and nothing has really changed since then, so give him full marks for recycling at least.
I know Weber's the face of the Predators but I also know if the future Hall of Famer [Chris] Pronger can be traded so can Weber. I also know Oilers' president of hockey ops Kevin Lowe LOVES Weber. He's in his prime, he's 235 pounds, only Zdeno Chara shoots the puck as hard, and Z stands in front of the net on the Boston powerplay now. So Weber, who probably has at least seven more years as an elite defenceman, currently pounds it better than anybody else.
If you were the Oilers and Weber was in play, what would you be willing to give up?
The analysis is mostly stuff & nonsense, filled with qualifiers and half-assertions that don't really add much to our understanding of the situation. Yes, the Oilers have talented forwards and need a quality defenseman. Yes, the Predators need top-line talent up front. But it's not quite that simple.
As loaded with potential as the rest of Nashville's blueliners are, Weber is the real deal, The One Who Panned Out. Teams all over the league are littered with prospects who were hoped to become key players but never quite made it there, and when you get one that actually becomes a game-changer, you'd have to be overwhelmed with any trade offer to even consider it. Pulling off any kind of realistic "hockey trade" would radically transform both parties to the transaction.
On the financial side, much has been made of Nashville's ability to carry Weber's mammoth contract, but the good news there is that the worst part of it is about halfway over, and a rising salary environment for all teams makes that burden easier to bear over time. For marketing purposes, a Shea Weber trade would be a massive blow to the local fan base at a time when the team doesn't have much goodwill to burn through. With the team facing the likelihood of a second consecutive non-playoff season, they have kept season ticket prices flat for 2014-15 rather than attempt to push through an increase, and paid attendance figures are still off their peak from the 2011-12 campaign.
David Poile has repeatedly said that he's not entertaining the thought of trading Weber, and there's no reason to disbelieve him. While there is much to ponder about what the Predators might do at the Trade Deadline and over the course of the summer to address their long-standing deficiencies at forward, a Shea Weber trade doesn't appear to be the way it will get done.
But writers around the NHL won't stop trolling for clicks, that's for sure.