Shea Weber receives $7.5-million arbitration award
Remembering NHL arbitration oh so well ...
The summer of 2007 sawthe arbitration hearing between the Kings and center Mike Cammalleri. Afterward, Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi told me that he "survived." Not only did the Kings survive, but they prevailed when the arbitrator awarded Cammalleri a two-year, $6.7-million contract.
Relationships rarely survive the rugged arbitration process, and this one was not an exception -- Cammalleri ended up getting dispatched to Calgary in a three-way deal with the Flames and Ducks not quite a year after his arbitration case.
Now, can the Nashville Predators and defenseman Shea Weber avoid an eventual parting after Weber was awarded $7.5 million on Wednesday by an arbitrator for the upcoming season, an arbitration record in the NHL? Previously, the high was John LeClair's $7 million in 2000.
"As they say: Well, why didn't you get it done? We just couldn't quite agree on the term, the length or the structure. We just didn't get it done," said Nashville GM David Poile on a conference call with Weber and reporters.
This means there are two defensemen in the league with cap hits more than $7 million, according to CapGeek.com, Weber and the Florida Panthers' Brian Campbell at $7.140 million.
Wednesday's development could have widespread ramifications -- not only in Nashville but in Los Angeles, on the Kings' current contract negotiations with defenseman Drew Doughty. The Predators could be dealing with two major unrestricted free agents in the summer of 2012: goaltender Pekka Rinne and defenseman Ryan Suter. Weber will be a restricted free agent.
"That's what makes this one-year deal interesting," Weber said. "We're all going to be up again after one year.... I'm sure we're going to be talking with each other because all three of us are pretty close and we'll be interested to see what everyone is looking to do."
Said Poile, of the inability to get a deal done with Weber: "That could be viewed as a failure. Maybe it is an opportunity.... Shea's been a big part of our team since he's been drafted. I know he likes it here. I'm certainly not pessimistic. I'm optimistic that we will eventually get a longer-term deal done."
-- Lisa Dillman
Photo: Nashville defenseman Shea Weber. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times