Tim Wharnsby of CBCSports reports via Twitter that Shea Weber has been awarded a one-year $7.5 million deal via arbitration.
Weber becomes the NHL’s highest paid defenseman. Yes, someone has finally catapulted past Brian Campbell in the cash department. As per Elliotte Friedman, Weber’s $7.5 million ruling is the highest arbitration award ever. The question now for David Poile and the Predators is can they patch things up with their captain and work towards a long-term deal? It’s not out of the realm of possibility, but judging by how things played out leading up Weber’s hearing and the low-ball offer put forth by the Predators entering arbitration, there’s some work to be done.
The Predators control Weber’s fate once again next summer as he’ll head into the offseason as an RFA. With Weber’s new deal in place the Predators are now above the salary cap floor, but Poile had to work aggressively to clear out some budget room last month to make way for Weber. Although arbitration probably wasn’t the best method to retain their captain, the Predators have some time to figure out how to lock him up to a lengthy deal. It’s fathomable that Weber could accept a deal that pays less annually in exchange for years… we’re totally free-styling here, though.
One also has to wonder what this means for Drew Doughty and the L.A. Kings and their own stagnant negotiations. Weber’s award has set the bar high and you’d have to imagine that Doughty will seek something comparable.
Update: David Poile and Shea Weber held a joint conference call to discuss today’s arbitration ruling. Stick tap to PredsOnTheGlass for providing audio of the conference call in its entirety.
Some of the highlights include Poile talking about the negotiation process:
“We negotiated long and hard for many, many meetings. We talked from a one-year contract to a longer-term contract. As they say, ‘Why didn’t you get it done?’ Well, we just couldn’t quite agree on the term, the length or the structure. We just didn’t get it done. From our standpoint, that is a little disappointing. We would certainly like the certainty of our captain signed to a long-term contract, but that’s not to say he’s not going to. It offers us a challenge. It certainly keeps me and the rest of our organization focused with our eye on the ball and what we have to do.”
Weber on the process and working towards a longer deal in the future:
“It is nice to get this arbitration process out of the way here for now and hopefully this can lead to further negotiations between my agents and the Predators and hopefully we can get something long term. For now, a one-year deal is done and I’m excited to get ready for the season.”
Weber also answered a question on the notion ‘hard feelings’, which he said don’t exist and that the hearing was just part of the business:
“I think that was just part of the business. Obviously no one wants it to come to that, but it is what it is. We’ve got something in place for now. Hopefully that can allow more time to get something longer-term done. Now it is just time to focus on hockey. It has been a long process, a little bit stressful and draining, but now I can just get ready for the season.”
I was a good show of some unity by Poile and Weber to come together for the conference call. It sounds as though both sides are happy and willing to work together with the future in mind.
Stick tap KuklasKorner