Monday, 18 June 2012
06/18/12 The Edmonton/Nashville Link
On the Monday edition of Inside Hockey on The Team 1260, Darren Dreger discussed the link between Edmonton and Nashville, and possible ways that the two organizations could fill each other's needs. It's a long shot, but could it happen?
The Oilers and Predators are on opposite sides of the same coin. Each is similarly restricted by the salary cap, but they are loaded in different areas. At some point with these two organizations, something is going to have to give. Neither team will be able to pay all of their top-end talent and still hope to have a balanced roster.
Dreger speculated that Steve Tambellini could exhaust every avenue when it comes to finding out if a player like Shea Weber will ever be available. Listen here.
Alexander Radulov didn't work out in Nashville, and Andrei Kostitsyn won't be back either. The struggle to find a game-breaking forward for the Predators continues. Ryan Suter is about to test unrestricted free agency, but there are many who believe that he could still return to the team that drafted him seventh overall in 2003. Certainly GM David Poile still seems optimistic about a new deal for Suter.
"Say we get a commitment from him," Poile said, "the better it would be for our franchise, and allow more opportunities to do more things."
Clearly, if the Predators knew they had a defenseman of Suter's quality locked up, they'd have more freedom to make a move for a forward. Naturally it's more likely that a young up-and-comer like Jonathan Blum or Ryan Ellis could be sent packing, but Nashville will still get a lot of good years out of them for a relatively low price tag. In fact, both of those players could be signed for significantly less than Shea Weber's $7.5 million cap hit, and the Preds wouldn't have to go without a number one defenseman if Suter re-signs and Weber were to be moved.
Punishing, offensively gifted, right-handed-shooting Shea Weber would obviously be a perfect fit in Edmonton, even at his massive price point. The Oilers would have to give up a star player to get him, but the financial situation may eventually necessitate such a move anyway. In fact, if Weber were eventually made available, there are few teams in the NHL that would be better positioned to put together a package.
Everything changes if Suter bolts for greener pastures, of course, but it's an interesting situation.