The latest on Shea Weber, plus a listing of five aging NHL veterans facing retirement.
NBC SPORTS: Ryan Dadoun reports on the now-seemingly annual trade rumors which crop up about Nashville Predators captain Shea Weber. Despite the constant denial of Predators GM Dave Poile, Weber’s name continues to surface in the rumor mill.
One reason is Weber’s heavily front-loaded contract, making it difficult for the small-market Predators to carry. Dadoun also notes the growing young blueline corps behind Weber, suggesting the Predators could handle Weber’s long-term absence. He also notes the Predators haven’t been competitive lately. Still, Dadoun feels it would be surprising for the Predators to trade Weber, unless the Predators’ situation worsen or Weber grows impatient waiting for the club to improve.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I realize Predators fans are sick of the Weber trade speculation of the past couple of years, but Dadoun covers all the bases here. It’s apparent Poile is building the Predators around Weber and goalie Pekka Rinne. If the Predators improve into perennial playoff contenders in the near future there will be little reason for Weber’s name to keep popping up in trade rumors. If they miss the playoffs again this season, the Weber trade speculation will not grow louder.
While the Predators are building a solid young defense corps, throughout their history they’ve been lacking a true franchise forward. A team deep in scoring talent but lacking a top defenseman would have serious interest in Weber, provided they have the cap space to take on his contract.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Adam Proteau wonders if aging NHL veterans Saku Koivu, Daniel Alfredsson, Martin Brodeur, Ray Whitney and Todd Bertuzzi should hang in there for another season or hang up their skates.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: For some of these player the decision will be made for them. I don’t believe there’s a market for Whitney and Bertuzzi. Alfredsson’s stated he’ll only return with the Detroit Red Wings, provided his back can handle another NHL season. There could still be interest in Brodeur as a backup and in Koivu as a checking-line center.