The Nashville Predators are in the same place they were one summer ago.
They need to sign defenseman Shea Weber. Only this time, the urgency has increased.
On July 4, defenseman Ryan Suter signed a 13-year, $98 million contract with the Minnesota Wild. His departure means that keeping Weber, a two-time Norris Trophy finalist and a player many consider the best defenseman in the game, is even more important.
Last summer, the Predators filed for arbitration with Weber, also then a restricted free agent, a move that prevented other teams from signing him to an offer sheet. Now, Nashville doesn’t have that option.
The Predators and Weber went through arbitration in 2011, and the defenseman was awarded a one-year, $7.5 million deal.
Another team could sign Weber to an offer sheet, though Nashville would likely match any deal. It’s more likely the Predators will either sign Weber to a long-term deal, or trade him if he doesn’t want to return to Nashville.
Most of the Predators’ immediate future depends on how they treat Weber and if he decides he wants to stay in Nashville.