Rumor Roundup: Are the Predators open to trading Shea Weber?

Lyle Richardson
Shea Weber (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Shea Weber. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

CBC’s Elliotte Friedman speculated over Shea Weber’s future with the Nashville Predators. While acknowledging the reasons behind the Predators matching the Flyers expensive offer sheet for Weber in July 2012, Friedman believes things have changed in Nashville.

He cited GM David Poile’s recent comments expressing disappointment over the performance of his forwards this season, admitting he would make a move if appropriate to shake things up. Poile’s talked to other teams, but Friedman claimed Weber was never discussed.

Poile has good reason to be disappointed with his club’s offense. Entering this week the Predators were 27th in goals-per-game and only three forwards (David Legwand, Craig Smith and Patric Hornqvist) have 20 or more points.

Friedman wondered if Edmonton Oilers GM Craig MacTavish would contact Poile about Weber if he hasn’t already done so. The Oilers desperately need a top-two defenseman and possess depth in talented young forwards, along with their first round pick in 2014, to dangle as trade bait.

Weber, who lacks a no-trade clause, would undoubtedly fetch a package that would improve the Predators offense now and for the future, but Poile could be reluctant to make that move. Seth Jones isn’t yet ready to replace Weber on the Predators’ blueline. If Poile did trade Weber he would have to pursue a separate deal for a skilled veteran blueliner to ride shotgun with Jones for the next couple of years.

As for the Oilers, landing Weber could mean giving up Taylor Hall or Jordan Eberle as moving Ryan Nugent-Hopkins would leave them thin at center. They could offer up sophomore winger Nail Yakupov, but Poile’s experience with Alexander Radulov could make him leery of taking on another young, high-maintenance Russian winger.

MOVING DZ NOT EASY
The New York Post’s Larry Brooks last week reported Rangers GM Glen Sather had “all but settled” on dealing inconsistent defenseman Michael Del Zotto. But Sather’s asking price (a top-four defenseman) and Del Zotto’s ongoing struggles is scaring off potential suitors.

Rangers management must either accept the best available offer or continue holding out for a better one. Brooks claimed the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators and Colorado Avalanche were interested in Del Zotto and wondered if the Leafs would part with young defenseman Jake Gardiner.

Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reported the Rangers had interest in blueliner Marc Methot, but the Senators could part with Patrick Wiercioch, who’s been a frequent healthy scratch this season. Garrioch also claimed the San Jose Sharks were among those pursuing Del Zotto.

Garrioch’s colleague Don Brennan doubted Del Zotto would resolve the Senators’ blueline issues, noting they already have enough puck-moving defensemen.

If the Rangers are determined to move Del Zotto they must reduce their asking price. At this stage he’s not worth a top-four blueliner. Leafs GM Dave Nonis has expressed reluctance to trade Gardiner and swapping him for Del Zotto would be considered a sideways move.