Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Weber a Winner in Arbitration

Generally speaking, when a team and a player go to arbitration, there is usually a gap that needed to be closed, in terms of salary figures.  Well, the Nashville Predators and defenseman Shea Weber didn't have a gap to close, rather a chasm to jump over.   The Predators reportedly came into the meeting with a desired salary number of $4.5 million, while their number one defender came with a desired number of $8.5 million, according to a number of Twitter sources.  A difference of $4 million is an awful long way to jump and let's just say... the Predators didn't make it.

The final arbitration award came down on Wednesday afternoon... 1-year, $7.5 million.  The largest arbitration award ever given in NHL history.  Weber came away with a windfall and now the questions will follow... how long will Weber last with the Predators and will the team want to sign him long-term or what will this do for the negotiations for Ryan Suter and Pekka Rinne next Summer?

Is Weber worth the windfall?  Well, in 2011, the 25-year old defenseman finished the year ranked 10th among all defensemen in scoring, picking up 16 goals and 32 assists in all 82 games, earning a Norris Trophy finalist nod and helping the Predators to their first appearance in the Conference Semi-Finals in the Spring.

A lot of prognostications and guesses had Weber in the $6 to $7 million range, the lower end possibly being closer to market value, in terms of scoring, but he must have had some real good points going into arbitration, because he scored big time with this decision.

Sergei KostitsynShea WeberPekka Rinne
Martin EratRyan SuterAnders Lindback
Patric HornqvistKevin Klein
David LegwandFrancis Bouillon
Mike FisherBrett Lebda
Niclas Bergfors
Colin Wilson
Jordin Tootoo
Nick Spaling
Jerred Smithson
Blake Geoffrion

Salary CapThe addition of Weber to the team table means that the Predators have jumped up the salary cap ladder, nearing the salary cap floor with only a few spots to fill.  The $7.5 million hit now brings the team's projected cap hit for the 2012 season to $47.6 million, with still a couple of defensemen to secure their spots and likely a couple more forwards as well.  With the cap floor down at $48.3 million, making up $700,000 would only take two players at minimum wage, so four would make them safe.

I did have a couple of names added to the Predators' projected top six defensemen earlier this week, but neither Jonathan Blum or Tyler Sloan qualified for this table, which needs at least 41 games or a fairly certain spot on the team to make it.  I would imagine that Blum is close, but I wouldn't say it is for sure... yet.

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