While the Washington Capitals are not currently among the top teams named to be interested in acquiring the services of All-Star defenseman Shea Weber, it should surprise no one that the Caps may be the most well-equipped team to make a serious run at the Predator's captain.
Currently coming off a one-year deal worth $7.5 million as a result of the richest arbitration hearing in NHL history, Shea Weber currently has one year left under the status of restricted free agent.
While the Capitals have an amazing defensive pairing in John Carlson and Karl Alzner, they have not named the dynamic duo the unquestioned top defensive pairing for their team.
The players, prospects and draft picks listed in the following slides could all add up to be a very generous package to offer the Predators.
While Nashville seems most intent on retaining Weber, and keeping their franchise in the playoff hunt, the Capitals, once again, have much bigger goals for next year.
Shea Weber very well could be the final piece of the puzzle when it comes to Washington's failure to advance past the second round.
There are more things Mike Green and Shea Weber have in common than people think at first.
Green had back-to-back Norris Trophy nominated seasons in 2008-2009 and 2009-2010, including a 31-goal campaign.
Both defensemen are currently on their last year of eligibility for restricted free-agent status.
Weber and Green can bring the offense like few others in their class.
While Green is nowhere near as good defensively as the Nashville captain, he does have a penchant for scoring timely goals and putting up good numbers.
Unfortunately, injuries have derailed Green's last two seasons in Washington, but it appears that the seven-year pro will be fully healthy by the start of next season.
Washington will determine if Green is going to be a part of the Capitals' core going forward into the future.
However, cited for less-than-exemplary play in the postseason, it seems Green is not part of the solution in D.C., but rather part of the the problem when it comes to not being able to make a sustained Stanley Cup run.
Giving him the benefit of the doubt, Green probably has quite a few good years left in him and should he rebound during the 2012-2013 season; he would be a great asset to any team.
A top-pairing defenseman and power-play quarterback, Mike Green would be the cornerstone piece in this trade.
After Ryan Suter bolted for Minnesota, if one takes a look at Nashville's depth at defense without Shea Weber, the cupboard is bare.
The Predators re-upped slow, aging defenseman Hal Gill for two more years, have a great prospect in offensive defenseman Ryan Ellis and have a steady blueliner in Kevin Klein. But after that, Nashville is in trouble.
Jeff Schultz, Green's former defensive partner and former NHL plus/minus leader, would become the second piece to trade for Weber.
Schultz is a huge body who doesn't necessarily use his size to his advantage. He can be solid at times, but for the most part, fans in Washington have grown tired of his inability and/or unwillingness to play with a mean, physical edge.
While Schultz brings next to no offense to the table, he does fill a hole in Nashville's defense.
Capable of playing on any defensive pairing when paired with the right partner, Green and Schultz could find themselves having a renaissance season down south.
The big defenseman comes at a cap-friendly cost of $2.75 million per year for two more years, money Nashville needs to add to reach the cap floor.
A familiar face with the Predator's organization, the last time Ward was seen in Nashville, he was absolutely tearing up the 2011 postseason.
With Washington signing a number of bottom-six depth players, it seems a viable option for Washington to send Ward back to Nashville.
During his first and only season with the Capitals, Ward failed to lived up to expectations given to him from the front office in which the veteran forward was paid quite handsomely.
Ward is on the hook for three more years at $3 million each, money that Washington needs to free up and Nashville needs to add.
With younger, cheaper role players like Jay Beagle and Matt Hendricks expecting to have a bigger role next season, playing time might be scarce for a player of Ward's calibre.
Washington replenished their prospect pool at the position of forward when they selected first-round draft picks Filip Forsberg and Tom Wilson.
Nashville, unfortunately, did not have that luxury after trading their first-round selection to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for fringe third-line center Paul Gaustad.
After a subpar draft, the cash-thrifty Predators may be looking forward to next season to fill a few needs in the minor leagues.
The Predators, who saw the Alexander Radulov fiasco unfold right before their eyes, may be extremely wary of drafting or trading for a Russian. This eliminates the possibility of trying to shop Evgeny Kuznetsov, who has made it clear to the Capitals' organization that he has no intention of coming to North America for at least two more years, and perhaps more.
The Predators are better off asking for that all-important draft pick that usually seems to cap off any major trade.
Washington, who has had tremendous success plucking elite talent from the first round, may not be willing to give up their first choice, but they might settle on sending a second-rounder or a pair of late-round picks to ensure that their trade package is the most attractive for Nashville.