Pekka Rinne Re-Signs with Nashville Predators: 6 Teams That Could Use Shea Weber
With the Predators able to lock up their franchise goaltender for seven more years, it begs the question of what might end up happening with defenseman and team captain Shea Weber.
Weber and the Predators were unable to come to terms on a contract extension before going to arbitration this past offseason, and Weber was awarded a one-year, $7.5-million deal.
If the Predators are unable to work a deal with Weber before the end of the season, we may see the All-Star defender gracing another team's blue line.
So what teams could use Shea Weber the most?
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The easiest answer is the Nashville Predators.
Even after re-signing Pekka Rinne, the Predators have an ample amount of space under the salary cap to make a strong offer to Weber.
Including Weber, the Preds have 13 players who will get a shot at free agency. Nine of those players will be restricted free agents.
After Weber, the next highest contracted player from this season is fellow defender Ryan Suter, who makes $3.5 million.
The Predators have to know that Weber is an integral part to the success of the whole team, which also includes Rinne.
To just let Weber go would be foolish of the Predators, but if it becomes clear that Weber doesn't want to stick around in Nashville, he would attract great value in a trade.
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The Phoenix Coyotes could use Weber for a couple of reasons.
First, both the Predators and Coyotes play a defense-first style of game, and Weber would likely be very comfortable in that system right from the get-go.
Second, current Phoenix captain Shane Doan isn't getting any younger and, at age 35, could be heading towards the end of his career.
Adding Weber would give the Coyotes another natural leader who could step right into a leadership role on their team.
Third, while Phoenix has celebrated offensive defenseman Keith Yandle, they don't really have a great shut- down defender who can line up against absolutely any superstar forward in the NHL.
The Coyotes have a very good system, but if they could get a power defender who could play and dominate any situation of the game, that would do a lot towards making them a contender to win their division.
Plus, Phoenix is another team that will have a lot of cap space for next season.
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The Colorado Avalanche have made a lot of changes to their defense during this past offseason and have a good amount of depth.
They currently have a very skilled back end, but there is still a lot of growing that needs to happen with this team.
The Avalanche are also a team that doesn't have a captain, and if that goes into the following year, then Shea Weber makes a great choice, as he has already served very effectively as a captain.
Plus, the Avalanche currently have former Predator Shane O'Brien, who did a decent amount of penalty killing with Shea Weber.
Though the Avalanche have a lot of salary cap space right now, they have a few players who will get some large raises after this season. A lot of the space that is there now might not be there next year.
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The Ottawa Senators are very close to getting back into a rebuilding stage for their franchise.
They currently have a lot of money tied up in Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, and Sergei Gonchar. Alfredsson and Gonchar are both starting to approach the twilight of their careers.
Ottawa may look to dismantle this roster so that they can begin to build around a younger core of players.
Shea Weber would be a great place for the Senators to start, as he is only 26 years old and has a very long time left in his NHL career.
As I've mentioned in almost every slide up to this point, he's a great leader who could really be a calming presence for a young team that is learning how to win. Weber could be the centerpiece to a great new era in Ottawa if the price is right.
Ottawa and Nashville have made decent trade partners in recent history, when Ottawa sent Mike Fisher to Nashville. It wouldn't be crazy to think they could pull off another deal.
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Depending on how things look for the Flames by the time the trade deadline comes around, Calgary could be another team looking to blow up the roster and begin a rebuild.
Many players from Calgary find their way into trade rumors, but I think this might be a year where Miikka Kiprusoff gets moved.
Another players who finds his ways into a lot of rumors is Jay Bouwmeester, whom Calgary has expected to play a lot like Shea Weber does, but who has struggled to consistently be that type of player.
Weber is that type of shut-down defender who also can get 40 to 50 points every season. Right now, Bouwmeester has a slightly smaller salary cap hit than Weber does but is producing far less.
If Calgary goes on a salary dump, then Shea Weber could be a great pickup to start their rebuild.
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The Carolina Hurricanes could absolutely steal Shea Weber depending on a few things.
If Weber likes being in the south and doesn't want to move himself too far away from Nashville, then Raleigh might be the most attractive solution.
Plus, Carolina has been incredibly savvy in the way they have built their contracts. They could easily afford Weber, even with the need to get Jeff Skinner an extension.
Carolina definitely has a team leader in Eric Staal, but the defense could use a leader like Weber.
Joni Pitkanen and Tomas Kaberle are the highest-paid defenders on the team, but they are not known for their incredible defensive ability. Those guys are known for being offensive presences.
Weber would help out the blue line so much in Carolina, and could even help push Cam Ward into some Vezina considerations.
Carolina could make a lot of sense.
Kevin Goff is a Featured Columnist for the Colorado Avalanche and NHL on Bleacher Report. For more NHL news and discussion,