Saturday, August 6, 2011

Weber to Winnipeg? Hmmm... Weberpeg?

My previous post detailed why I believe Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators is on the trading block. Most G.M.s in the NHL will be making contact with Nashville to gauge their interest in opening negotiations on the movement of Weber. There will be some very attractive offers of quality players, maybe some prospects and/or draft picks. Nashville will be looking to maintain their low-budget philosophy and not take on a large, lengthy contract.

Here is where the tough part of my proposal comes in. Packaging the right Jets assets to acquire Shea Weber without decimating the team or it's future to get him as well as fitting Nashville's specific needs. So without further delay, here is my proposal.

The Predators send Shea Weber and the rights to prospect Zach Budish to the Jets for Zach Bogosian, Johnny Oduya, Patrice Cormier and a 1st round pick in 2013. Before you scroll down to comment and berate my idea, please allow me to explain why this is a good trade for both teams.

Why The Predators do it: Zach Bogosian is a 21 year-old potential star D-man who could be a cornerstone piece in Nashville for years to come. Playing strong on both ends of the ice he could mature in to a top-line defenseman making the Weber departure bearable. He is presently a RFA likely looking for a contract in the $4M+ range which looks like a bargain compared to Webers $7.5M.

Johnny Oduya is a top four D-man that can play major minutes this season as Jonathon Blum and Ryan Ellis mature. Oduyas contract has one year remaining for $4M with a $3.5M cap hit which has three benefits. The first is Nashville is presently just over the salary cap floor with no one left to re-sign on the roster so his cap hit combined with Bogosians will keep them there. The second is he could be valuable at the trade deadline if the youth development on D progresses well enough this season. Third is the possibility of a reasonably priced extension if they decide to trade upcoming UFA Ryan Suter.

Patrice Cormier is on his rookie two-way contract (two years left) giving Nashville economical depth at C/LW. Cormier is a highly thought of future 2nd or 3rd line two-way forward with strong defensive skills that will score some goals. First round draft picks are always welcome assets in a deal.

There are reasons I believe this offer might be more attractive than others even though you may be thinking "Not enough star power going to Nashville for Weber ". The acquisition of a "star" player usually means a big money contract with multiple years left. The Preds have historically been a low spending team and may be adverse to receiving a long expensive contract in trade. Ryan Suter (3.5M) and Pekka Rinne (3.4M) are UFAs next summer and will command healthy raises in Nashville. With the Preds refusal to pay top dollar for one of the leagues best D-men, what does their future hold?

Bogosian has the potential to be a star D-man in and could be signed for a few years at a fraction of Webers $7.5M. Oduya fills in nicely on D and on the salary cap. Cormier is considered a strong prospect and with the Preds having six FA forwards next summer his depth is likely welcome. The Preds get a potential replacement for Weber, another top 4 D-man, depth at forward, no big contract, a 1st round pick and their cap issue covered.

Why Winnipeg does it: It's freaking Shea Weber! To acquire one of the best defensemen in the NHL as he is hitting his prime would certainly make a massive statement in Winnipeg for the new ownership. Weber is a dominating force on both ends of the ice putting up 16 goals and 32 assists for 48 points (5th overall for D-men) while playing over 25 minutes per game last season. His dynamic play, strong leadership and character make him a great addition to the roster for years to come.

The Jets defense is instantly upgraded and we would have the highest point producing top four D-men in the league. Pairing him with Dustin Byfuglien would make them the biggest, hardest hitting and shooting 1st D pairing in the NHL. Playing them apart would probably balance out our top four D better and make them one of the leagues upper echelon groupings. The loss of Bogosian and Oduya on D would not be felt with Webers play.

That is why a player of Cormiers worth and the 1st round pick need to be included to complete this trade for this All-Star player. The first round pick in 2013 should be in the late teens or in the 20's (30th = Woo Hoo) since the Jets expect/hope to be a strong playoff contender by then.

Prospect Zach Budish is a 20 year-old 6'3" 223 lb. RW playing at the University of Minnesota. He tore his ACL seven games into last season and has fully recovered from surgery. He plays complete game with a scoring touch and has the potential to make the NHL in the future. I also like getting a Zach back for a Zach.

One thing that could be in the Jets managements favor is that other than Andrew Ladd and Blake Wheeler, they haven't made any commitments to the supposed core of the team. The fanbase also hasn't had the opportunity to get very attached to the players yet so the trading of a core player wouldn't hurt player or fan relations. Winnipeg Jets fever would go through the roof with the acquisition of Weber and the statement it would make about wanting a cup.

There are several questions surrounding the possibility of this trade working:
  • Does Nashville receive a proposal better suited to them than the Winnipeg offer prior to training camp?
  • Deep-pocketed True North has been disciplined in their spending since purchasing the Jets, does paying $8M a year for the best D-man in hockey fall in their line of thinking?
  • I sincerely hope they would spend appropriate big dollars on a worthy player developed in Winnipeg, why not for Weber just hitting his prime?
  • The fact that Bogosian remains a RFA this late in the summer fuels the rumors that he is being shopped by the Jets, perhaps because he doesn't want to play in Winnipeg?
  • If true, wouldn't trading him for the high character leader that Weber has proven himself to be fit in the team philosophy? 
  • Would Weber sign a long term contract in Winnipeg believing the ownership is committed to winning and the team has the goods to become a cup contender? 
Shea Weber has seen the passionate Winnipeg hockey fans before. Jets Captain Andrew Ladd played with Weber in the WJC in 04-05 winning gold and those pre-tournament games were in Winnipeg. I bet he would put in a good word for playing hockey in the 'Peg as he has spoken positively since his arrival. The Jets may or may not have serious interest in getting him, and only Shea Weber can answer if he would play in Winnipeg. I sure hope the Jets management do their due diligence by at least asking him if he's interested.

1 comment:

  1. No way it gets done without 2012's first rounder but nice idea and would love to see it!