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Nashville Predators captain Shea Weber is a Norris Trophy winner in the making. Weber and the Preds went to arbitration this past summer where he was awarded a one-year $7.5 million contract. When his one-year deal runs out he will once again become a restricted free agent.
The problem the Preds have is that the team's pockets are not very deep and Pekka Rinne and Ryan Suter also have contracts that expire at the end of this season. If the team cannot get the 26-year-old Weber under a long term deal they run the risk of another team coming in with a front loaded offer sheet that they may not be able to match.
While offer sheets are rare in this day and age, so are defenseman with the talents of Weber. An offer sheet would at least net the Preds a handful of draft picks, a worse case scenario would be signing Weber to another $7.5 million deal next summer and then losing him via unrestricted free agency the following year.
The Preds and Weber need to sit down and talk. If he wants to remain with the team for the long haul they need to come to an agreement on a long term deal as soon as possible. If there are any questions about his future plans, however painful it may be, they will need to trade him.
Preds fans have to be hoping for a long term signing, the rest of the league's general managers hope for just the opposite.