Shea Weber Awarded $7.5 Million Contract Through Arbitration: Is He Worth It?

Jason Sapunka@moreSapunkaCorrespondent IIAugust 3, 2011

NASHVILLE, TN - APRIL 02:  Shea Weber #6 and Martin Erat #10 of the Nashville Predators celebrate after a goal against the Detroit Red Wings on April 2, 2011 at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

According to a report from NHL.com, the Nashville Predators' captain Shea Weber has a new contract worth $7.5 million for the 2011-12 season.

Weber recorded 16 goals and 32 assists in 82 games last season with a plus-7 rating, earning him a nomination for the James Norris trophy as the league's top defenseman.

Weber finished second in the voting as Nicklas Lidstrom won his seventh Norris Trophy. Weber finished ahead of 2009 winner Zdeno Chara.

According to CapGeek.com, Weber's cap hit is now the top among all NHL defenseman, and tied with Steven Stamkos for ninth among all NHL players.

The $7.5 million salary he will earn in 2011-2012 puts him fifth among defenseman.

Only Buffalo's Christian Ehrhoff ($10 million), Chara ($8.5 million), 2010 Norris winner Duncan Keith ($8 million), and 2000 Hart Trophy and Norris winner Chris Pronger ($7.6 million) have higher salaries.

Another player who will be making $7.5 million in this upcoming season is Montreal's Scott Gomez. Despite playing 80 games as a forward, Gomez scored ten fewer points than Weber.

The disappointing Dany Heatley will make $8 million next year, despite scoring just 64 total points in this past season.

Though Weber's contract is quite a large sum, the young player is certainly worth it.

Weber is undoubtedly one of the league's best defensemen; the only player who was judged to be better at the position than him last season is one of the NHL's all-time greatest.

The NHL consists of many overpaid players. Even at $7.5 million, Weber is not one of them.

During next summer's offseason, Weber will be a restricted free agent yet again.

In order to prevent Weber from becoming an unrestricted free agent, Nashville must submit a qualifying offer worth 100 percent of the player's previous contract.

In other words, to keep Weber from testing the free agency waters in 2012, Nashville must offer a new contract worth $7.5 million by July 1st of next summer.

If the Predators still don't realize a 25-year-old who is one of the NHL's best defensemen is worth it, expect their captain to be going elsewhere.

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