Shea Weber and the New York Rangers were first linked in a report by ESPN a few weeks before the NHL trade deadline, but recent events have the two parties linked once again. Larry Brooks of the New York Post talked about how Weber and the Rangers could be a perfect fit.
The Rangers need to add offense, absolutely. But they could do that by adding a weapon on the power-play point every bit as much as they could by adding a winger. Fact is, the team ranked right in the middle of the league in five-on-five goals while finishing 23rd in power-play efficiency.
Weber was on for 47 of the 54 goals Nashville scored in leading the NHL at 21.6 percent on the man-advantage, on for one power-play goal every 5:38, another NHL best. For comparison, Michael Del Zotto, on at the point for 28 of the Blueshirts’ 44 PPGs, had a ratio of one for every 11:31.
Weber is arguably the NHL's best defenseman and he lost his defense parter Ryan Suter to free agency. The Nashville Predators' captain is currently a restricted free agent and is one year away from UFA status.
The Predators find themselves in a conundrum of sorts because if Weber decides not to sign long-term, they will need to start shopping him to teams that he would sign with.
They want to avoid what happened with Suter and want to follow Ray Shero's lead when he traded Jordan Staal after it was apparent that Staal wouldn't sign long-term.
The Predators' only means of dealing with this situation has to come via trade because they are prepared to match every offer sheet submitted even though they could end up losing Weber for nothing.
Brooks noted that the Rangers have the resources and means to trade for Weber and that he is the only player "worth the bounty." The article also explained that the Rangers would amend their "hands off" list.
The Rangers have all sorts of players quarantined in their bid for Nash, and well they should. But for Weber, an intimidating physical force at 6'4", 235 pounds, who was on ice for more power-play goals scored than any other player in the league, the list would be as short as this:
1. Henrik Lundqvist (redundant anyway with Nashville owning Pekka Rinne); 2. Ryan McDonagh; 3. Ryan Callahan; 4. Dan Girardi; 5. Chris Kreider.
That would be it. Everyone else in the organization would be on the table, understanding that Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik have no-move or no-trade clauses and wouldn’t be part of the discussion in any event.
This list notably excludes Derek Stepan, Marc Staal and Michael Del Zotto, amongst others. Weber, like Brooks noted, is the player to break the bank on. He is a physical and offensive force who would bolster the Rangers' offense and defense.
In any trade you have to give to get, but in this case, the Rangers would add a Norris Trophy-capable defenseman. It would hurt to lose Staal, Stepan or Del Zotto—not all in one trade—but the Rangers could potentially amend the trade to have Nashville send back budding young center Colin Wilson to fill in for Stepan.
A trade for Weber would likely include one of Staal/DelZotto, Stepan, a prospect and a first-round draft pick. It is a deal that would be worth making, unlike playing into Scott Howson's demands for Nash.
It may never get to that point, but Weber would give the Rangers a world-class defenseman and a player to exponentially help Ryan McDonagh as a player.
If the Rangers cannot add Rick Nash, if they cannot lure Bobby Ryan out of Anaheim and if they sign a player like Shane Doan, they should seriously consider acquiring Weber because he is a franchise defenseman to invest in.