Tag:Nashville Predators
Posted on: August 3, 2011 3:25 pm
Edited on: August 3, 2011 3:31 pm

Predators' Weber awarded $7.5M in arbitration

By Brian Stubits

The ruling in the Shea Weber arbitration case has come down, and you can chalk it up as a win for Weber.

Per Tim Wharnsby of CBC Sports, the Norris Trophy nominee was awarded a $7.5 million deal through the arbitration process, a pretty substantial ruling in his favor. Entering the process, the numbers being floated around for the asking prices were $8.5 million for one season by Weber with the Predators holding an offer of $4.75 million.

With the massive number going to Weber, he takes home the biggest award ever given in arbitration.

It's pretty easy to see why. Weber has established himself as one of the elite defensemen in hockey. After scoring 16 goals with 32 assists last season while racking up more than 25 minutes of ice time per game and Norris nomination, he was due for a nice raise from his $4.5 million salary. How the Predators were going to argue Weber didn't deserve more than they were offering was a tough case to make. It must have been hard for the team to keep a straight face when trying to discredit Weber.

Obviously they came into the negotiations low as a starting point, but can't imagine they wanted to go this high. Whatever they said didn't seem to convince the arbiter much. Now, according to CapGeek.com, Weber becomes only the second defenseman in the NHL with a cap hit of more than $7 million, joining just Brian Campbell in that department.

The $7.5 million makes him the highest salary cap hit among defensemen in the NHL and it matches the hits of Steven Stamkos, Dany Heatley and Marian Gaborik for the seventh highest in the league.

But hey, the big award does sneak the Predators over the salary cap floor. So there's some good news for the team.

Not many ever thought the case would make it this far, figuring a last-minute deal would be struck like we saw in every other arbitration case this offseason. Especially when you consider how important locking up Weber is for the long-term outlook of the Predators, it seemed like only a matter of time before a long extension was announced.

Instead, you are left to wonder if this isn't the beginning of the end for the Predators/Weber union. There will be plenty of time to try and come to terms with Weber between now and next year, but arbitration has been known to cause fractures in relationships in the past. Fans in Nashville will be keeping their fingers crossed that isn't going to happen here.

As a result of this, you can probably hear Drew Doughty in Los Angeles jumping for joy. The Kings had been waiting to make their next move in the negotiations with their young defenseman, presumably to see what kind of money Weber would be taking. Not that the two will have concurrent deals, but it helps give the Kings an idea of the market value.

The fun part? The two might have to go through this all over again next season as Weber will have one more go around as a restricted free agent.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: August 2, 2011 11:02 pm
Edited on: August 2, 2011 11:28 pm

Islanders, Blake Comeau avoid arbitration


By: Adam Gretz

On the same day Shea Weber and the Nashville Predators went through the arbitration process, another player was able to avoid it. The New York Islanders and forward Blake Comeau came to an agreement on a one-year deal on Tuesday night that is worth $2.5 million according to Newsday's Katie Strang.

Comeau was scheduled for arbitration on Aug. 4, which would have been the final hearing for this offseason. Once Weber's contract situation gets settled, every player that was scheduled for arbitration will be taken care of, with Weber's being the only one to actually go through the hearing.

The 25-year-old winger is coming off what was the best season of his brief career, scoring 24 goals in 77 games. He was one of five Islanders players to hit the 20-goal plateau last season, joining Michael Grabner, Matt Moulson, John Tavares and P.A. Parenteau. Along with that, he was also one of New York's top penalty killing options last season logging just over two minutes of shorthanded ice-time per game, and even managed to add a shorthanded goal.

With Comeau signed the Islanders currently have 23 players under contract for the upcoming season, taking up just over $45.9 million in cap space. They still have two remaining restricted free agents in Josh Bailey and Jesse Joenssu.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: August 2, 2011 8:21 pm
Edited on: August 2, 2011 8:51 pm

The Shea Weber arbitration numbers


By: Adam Gretz

After they were unable to work out a new contract the Nashville Predators and their captain, Shea Weber, went through the arbitration process on Tuesday morning. While we won't know the ruling until Thursday morning at the latest (the arbiter has 48 hours to decide), we do have an idea as to what numbers the two sides went in with.

According to TSN's Darren Dreger, Weber requested a one-year salary of $8.5 million, while the Predators presented an offer of $4.75 million. The arbiter can choose any number between those two figures.

Weber, who turns 26 in a couple of weeks, is coming off his second consecutive 16-goal season from the blueline. He's managed to score at least 16 goals in four of the past five years, and only appeared in 54 games the one season he didn't reach that mark. He has a booming slap shot and pretty much every trait a team looks for in a franchise defenseman, and can still get better.

The salary figure he requested is a definitely significant one.

He earned $4.5 million last season in what was the final year of a three-year contract he signed in 2008. If by some chance he were to be rewarded $8.5 million -- and that is unlikely -- it would be the fourth largest cap hit in the league next season, traiiling only Alex Ovehckin, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. It would also be the largest cap hit among defenseman. As far as the base salary is concerned, it would be tied with Boston's Zdeno Chara as the eighth largest in the NHL, and tied for second among defenseman, trailing only the $10 million in base salary Buffalo's Christian Erhoff is set to make.

But that's if he gets that amount, and that's unlikely to happen. Just as it's unlikely that Nashville doesn't really feel its captain, best player, and one of the best players in the league at his position is only worth a slight raise over last year's salary. As Jeremy Gover at Section 303 pointed out, this is simply Nashville's way of keeping the 2011 salary at a more manageable figure since the arbiter typically picks a number between the two proposals. By shooting lower, it's likely the Predators, a team that doesn't exactly have a bottomless pit of funds at its disposal, can get a more atrractive deal for the upcoming season.

They know Weber is worth more than that -- and will get more than that -- just like Weber knows he's not going to walk away as one of the ten highest paid players in the NHL. At least not for another couple of years.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: August 1, 2011 11:07 am
Edited on: August 1, 2011 1:21 pm

Higher salary cap means larger core for teams


By: Adam Gretz

If the NHL salary cap has done anything during its existence it's forced teams to identify a core of players to build around. With a limit on spending teams aren't going to be able to keep every single player they want, or build a completely well-rounded team without flaws. Eventually tough decisions will have to be made on who to keep and who to let go.

In the cap era teams that make deep runs into the postseason have been pretty consistent with the structure of having nearly 50 percent of their league-allotted cap space tied up in a core of just five players. But in recent years, specifically the past two, the salary cap has increased rather significantly, all the way to the point where the salary floor for the 2011-12 season is higher than the actual cap was back in 2005-06.

Will that change the structure of teams from having a core of just five players, to perhaps a core of six or seven?

Let's take a look at last year's 16 playoff teams and how their top-five salaries fit under the 2011-12 cap of $64.3 million…

Playoff Teams Top-Five Salary Cap Commitments For 2011-12
Team Top-Five Salary Cap Hits Percentage of Salary Cap
Washington Capitals $32.6 million 51%
Pittsburgh Penguins $31.4 million 49%
San Jose Sharks $29.5 million 46%
Chicago Blackhawks $29.4 million 46%
New York Rangers $29.3 million 46%
Tampa Bay Lightning $29.1 million 45%
Montreal Canadiens $29 million 45%
Philadelphia Flyers $27.5 million 43%
Buffalo Sabres $27.1 million 42%
Vancouver Canucks $27.1 million 42%
Detroit Red Wings $26.5 million 41%
Anaheim Ducks $25.2 million 39%
Boston Bruins $24.9 million 39%
Los Angeles Kings* $24.6 million 38%
Phoenix Coyotes $20.7 million 32%
Nashville Predators* $20.1 million 31%

*Nashville's number will surely increase once Shea Weber's contract is settled this week, and the same thing goes for Los Angeles whenever Drew Doughty signs a new contract.

I spoke with one NHL executive a couple of weeks ago on the subject and he agreed that most teams, if not every team, see the current NHL structure as having to invest a significant portion of their resources into a core group of players, but that there are still several key factors that go into the roster construction.

For one, you have to have the players worthy of that sort of investment. Throwing large money at mediocrity isn't going to win anything.

The other factor at work is that some of these teams, like Phoenix and Nashville for example, aren't concerned with the league-wide cap and are instead working against their own financial restrictions, which can put them at a sizable disadvantage, not all that different from the ones these teams faced prior to the salary caps existence. The Predators, who are set to go to arbitration with one of their best players, Shea Weber, on Tuesday, have an easily identifiable core of Weber, Ryan Suter and Pekka Rinne. There's already been concern about their ability to keep them together for the long haul. So even with the cap there's still teams that struggle to keep their home-grown Stars.

But for the teams that have the funds at their disposal, the latest cap increase has made it easier to not only keep their best, core players under contract, but to also increase that "core" (at least until -- or if -- the cap goes down at some point) and potentially keep even more players that they may have otherwise had to part ways with in recent years due to cap restrictions.

Look at it this way: Last season the top-four playoff seeds in each conference (including both Stanley Cup final teams) had at least 50 percent of the $59.4 million cap invested in just five players, while four of them had as much as 55 percent invested in their top-five cap hits. As you can see in the table above, only one team at this point in the offseason -- Washington -- hits that mark, which is an example as to how much the cap has increased, and how much additional room the deep pocketed teams with talent have to work with.

All salary cap figures via CapGeek

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: August 1, 2011 8:43 am

Daily Skate: Islanders big day

By: Adam Gretz

IT'S VOTE DAY FOR THE Islanders It's August 1 and that means it's a huge day for the future of the New York Islanders franchise. Today is the day Nassau County residents will vote on whether or not to pass a referendum that would fund a new arena for the storied franchise. Their two closest rivals, the Rangers and Devils, have already spoken out in favor of the deal, and the Islanders PR blitz has been on for quite a while. Chris Botta at Islanders Point Blank reviews the all of the pluses and minuses of everything that's gone on, and offers a prediction on what will happen when the polls close at 9 PM.

TAMPA BAY'S 'BE THE TICKET' PROMOTION The Tampa Bay Lightning are running a Facebook promotion that will give their fans an opportunity to have their face on a ticket stub for a game during the 2010-11 season. The folks at Raw Charge have some thoughts on the promotion, and if you're a Lightning fan that wants to have the opportunity to have your mug on a ticket stub, here's where to go.

MORE ON WEBER'S ARBITRATION So far this summer every potential arbitration case has been avoided due to the team and player coming to an agreement. In the case of Shea Weber, that doesn't appear as if it's going to happen, so both sides are preparing for Tuesday's hearing. Is Weber, the Predators' All-Star level defenseman, only looking for a one-year deal instead of two? That's what Dirk Hoag at On The Forecheck looks at after a since-deleted Tweet from TSN's Ryan Rishaug suggested Weber was only looking for a one-year deal.

WINNIPEG: THE HOCKEY SONG And now for something completely random, and perhaps even a little ridiciulous, here's a gentlemen that goes by the name of Sugar Free Leonard welcoming the return of the Winnipeg Jets through song. We give him credit for putting himself out there. Video via Puck Daddy:

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: July 28, 2011 10:35 am

Daily Skate: Preds, Weber prepare for arbitration

By Brian Stubits

ALWAYS BE PREPARED: Even though all other arbitration hearings haven't come to fruition so far (not counting Chris Campoli, who the Blackhawks decided to walk away from well before), Shea Weber and the Predators are both preparing for their battle (the Tennesseean). The chances still are good that a deal will be reached in time, but the sides maintain they aren't close right now. The arbitration meeting is set for Tuesday, Aug. 2, so expect things to stay at a stalemate until Monday. If they still go to arbitration, then Nashville has to take whatever award Weber gets since it filed for arbitration and it will only be a one- or two-year deal. You can see why the Preds would love to handle this on their own.

PITTSBURGH IS ON THE CLOCK? No site has been selected for the 2012 NHL Entry Draft yet, but Pittsburgh has stepped to the front of the table as the leader (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review). The city's main foe appears to be the Tampa Bay Lightning. Last year the draft was held in Minnesota. But that's not all the Penguins are up to in the middle of the summer. The team is also going to unveil a Mario Lemieux statue outside of the arena at some point before then. Certainly a worthy gesture.

GETTING WITH THE TIMES FORUM: Steven Stamkos got the most money from Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, but a close second is the St. Pete Times Forum. The team's new owner Jeff Vinik is serious about rebuilding the franchise, and one of those steps is rebuilding the arena. The Forum is in the process of receiving a $35 million facelift (St. Petersburg Times) to the arena which will feature a whole bunch of new and interesting aspects. You know the pirate ship at Tampa's football stadium? Well the Lightning are looking for something similar as far as a recognizable destination goes. The way team CEO Tod Leiweke put it: "we felt the building in some ways needed a soul."

BACKUP BLUE: When free agency began, the Blues got in the action by signing former Senators goaltender Brian Elliott. It wasn't long after that they re-signed massive (literally) prospect Ben Bishop to the same exact two-way contract as Elliott. Now the two are primed for a camp battle for the same spot. Pro Hockey Talk takes a look at the backup battle and notes its importance considering Jaroslav Halak played a career high in games last season and it was just 57. The backup will certainly be relied upon.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: July 22, 2011 9:51 am
Edited on: July 22, 2011 10:08 am

Daily Skate: Trevor Gretzky signs with Cubs

By: Adam Gretz

GRETZKY SIGNS WITH CUBS: Trevor Gretzky, the son of hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky, reportedly signed with the Chicago Cubs on Thursday, according to the Toronto Sun. Gretzky, a first baseman who had committed to play college ball at San Diego State, was a seventh-round draft pick of the Cubs in the June draft. He had until Aug. 15 to sign with the Cubs.

BOOGAARD'S BROTHER FACES DRUG CHARGE: Aaron Boogaard was arrested Thursday on the suspicion prescription fraud/possession of presciprtion pills according to the Star Tribune. Boogaard is the brother of former Wild and Rangers forward Derek Boogaard, who died in May in an accidental drug overdose. Boogard's family issued a statement, saying the charges against Aaron have nothing to do with Derek's death and are part of a larger investigation. According to the report, the date of Aaron's crime is listed as May 13, which is the same day Derek was found dead in his apartment.

WALLACE SIGNS WITH Islanders: Forward Tim Wallace signed a one-year, two-way deal with the New York Islanders on Thursday. The 26-year-old forward spent the past five seasons in the Pittsburgh Penguins organization and finished with 20 goals and 17 assists playing in the American Hockey League with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins last year.

ENROTH SIGNS WITH Sabres: The Buffalo Sabres signed restricted free agent Jhonas Enroth to a two-year deal Thursday to serve as Ryan Miller's primary backup. Enroth split time last season with Patrick Lalime as Miller's backup. One of the smallest goalies in the NHL (listed at just 5-foot-10, 166 pounds), Enroth appeared in 14 games last season and recorded a 9-2-2 record to go with a .907 save percentage.

BOUILLON SUFFERS SETBACK: Predators defenseman Francis Bouillon, who appeared in just 44 games last season, suffered a setback in his recovery from a concussion, telling Richard Labbe of Cyberpresse (translated link) that he's still experiencing headaches and had to recently stop his training. As Dirk Hoag of On The Forecheck pointed out, this leaves the Predators defense with a lot of question marks because of Bouillon's setback, as well as the offseason moves that resulted in the loss of Shane O'Brien and Cody Franson.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: July 21, 2011 8:45 am
Edited on: July 21, 2011 11:25 am

Daily Skate: Campoli becomes free agent

By Adam Gretz

CAMPOLI BECOMES UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENT: Defenseman Chris Campoli was originally scheduled for an arbitration hearing Aug. 3, but the Chicago Blackhawks decided to walk away from him Wednesday and allow him to become an unrestricted free agent. According to James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail, because the two sides had already agreed to part ways his arbitration hearing was moved up and he was "awarded" $2.5 million, which Chicago then walked away from. The Blackhawks had recently signed defenseman Sami Lepisto.

CAN 'PREDATOR HOCKEY' WIN THE CUP? Dirk Hoag of On The Forecheck takes an interesting look at whether or not "Predator Hockey" (defensive, low-scoring, not a lot of offense) can win the Stanley Cup, and whether or not it's a recipe that's worked for teams recently in the NHL.

CAPS WAIVE FORMER FIRST-ROUND PICK: The Washington Capitals reportedly placed former first-round pick Anton Gustafsson, the 21st overall selection in 2008, on waivers Wednesday. His career to this point has been filled with injuries, and included him taking a brief break from hockey. According to Katie Carrera of the Washington Post, if he goes unclaimed on waivers, it would allow the Capitals to terminate his contract.

Islanders WORKING ON A MOVE? In recent weeks we've talked about how much work remains for the Islanders to reach the salary-cap floor, and Katie Strang of Newsday argues that right now is the perfect time for general manager Garth Snow to make a move, and perhaps a big move.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @agretz on Twitter.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com