Wouldn't You Want Out?

This blog is inspired by recent events and certainly this CBC Sports article from Elliotte Friedman. There are assumptions and speculation, and a surprising lack of humor, floating around this piece.

There has been a lot of talk about the Nashville Predators taking the next step. David Poile shocked Preds fans last offseason when they went out and grabbed one of the best players available through free agency Matthew Lombardi. The organization further shocked fans by going out and grabbing center Mike Fisher from Ottawa (replacing the Matt Lombardi), showing a commitment to spend the money needed to compete. Myself and other Predators fans were looking forward to an offseason where we could solidify our team around new captain Shea Weber and get the missing elements needed to make Nashville a real Stanley Cup threat. At this point any fan of the team knows that the offseason is not going how anyone envisioned it.

I can't verify that this Shea, but it could be

This offseason, the Preds have brought on board Brett Ledba, Zack Stortini, Niclas Bergfors, and Tyler Sloan. Wow, about the only thing that we can get excited about it Bergfors, a player that is basically this season’s Sergei Kostitsyn. What have we lost? Where to begin? Joel Ward, Mark Dekanich, Marcel Goc, Matthew Lombardi (who may never play again), Shane O’Brien, JP Dumont, Steve Sullivan and Cody Franson were all either traded, not invited back, or had their contract bought out. Any and all replacements are rookies that have never seen NHL ice or only played in the NHL due to last season’s injury woes. On top of all the player movements we had and error on the part of David Poile that almost cost the team O’Reilly, Halischuk, Kostisyn, and Spaling. So, here we are. If you were an elite defenseman, is this the commitment to winning that you want to see from your organization?

Your 2011-2012 Nashville... Predators?
What we’re left with is a team that has once again decided to work with what they’ve got. After clearing all sorts of cap space by buying out Dumont, trading away Lombardi’s dead fish contract, and passing on a new contract with Sullivan fans have seen nothing happen. No one can say whether the team is going to be better or worse next season due to the assumed influx of young, homegrown talent. The team has clearly adopted this very passive strategy in a division where we saw rivals make bold and numerous moves to improve their teams. And now think about Weber; a player that had faith in the organization and frequently expressed that he wished to remain with the team. He’s been watching this offseason unfold right along side, and as we grew more and more tense following the draft, we could assume that Weber was feeling that right along with the rest of us. He’s approaching that soft “prime” age of 27 years and he has to think about his future, his future holding the Cup above his head.

When I start thinking about things that way I can start to understand his point of view. Already this summer we have seen people argue whether or not Predators Hockey can even win the Stanley Cup, a brilliant blog inspired by the idea that the organization believes that the team can win on the merits of defense alone. Weber gets to see all of this first hand and has access to information for which bloggers and fanatics would practically kill to obtain. You take everything that has happened this offseason and that “sure thing” attitude of Weber might have taken a few hits. He may have just gotten fed up. And what about the agent change? The switch was made before even the draft had taken place, and like Patten over at Puck Scene writes about, the agent change may have created an even bigger mess out of this offseason. If he wanted to give the franchise one more shot then he could’ve set up a one-year deal before arbitration, but I agree with Elliotte Friedman that Weber may just want out at this point. The goal and dream of any NHL player is to win the Stanley Cup, and it is perfectly reasonable for Weber believe that such a victory is not within the grasp of this Nashville Predators organization.

Of course this is all speculation. My personal favorite theory is that Poile and Weber are just trying to help Weber’s new agent gain some experience at being a player agent.

Selfishly, I also don't want to have to work on new art for my sidebars for the 2012-2013 season. I really enjoy the ones that I have at the moment.... *Warning, lower resolution screen users may have no idea what I'm talking about*

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