This much is certain: The Nashville Predators and their captain, Shea Weber, will have a deal by 8 a.m. (CDT) Thursday.
After months of negotiations failed to produce an agreement in traditional terms, the sides made their cases to an independent arbitrator Tuesday morning in Toronto.
According to multiple reports, the team’s bid was for a one-year contract at $4.75 million, which would make him the second-highest paid player on the team behind forward Martin Erat ($6 million). Weber and his representatives requested $8.5 million, which would make him one of the highest-paid defensemen in the league.
The arbitrator, who must rule within 48 hours, can pick either one, or come up with a number all his own. It is logical to assume that the Predators’ submission was lower than what they feel Weber requested but was made with the idea that it would influence a decision somewhere between the two. Plus, the arbitration rules of ‘comparables’ does not allow for either side to use deals signed by unrestricted free agents as support for their respective positions.
Regardless, the ruling will provide the deal that both sides will sign and will guarantee Weber remains with the team at least one more season.
The 25-year-old already has played 402 career games for the Predators, during which he has racked up 214 points.
Weber was Nashville’s third-leading scorer during the 2010-11 regular season. He was named a first-team NHL All-Star and a Norris Trophy finalist following the season — both franchise firsts.