Well didn't see that one coming. Shea Weber didn't want to see it coming. But the Predators matched the offer sheet that probably makes the CBA negotiations hilariously difficult. What it means on the ground is that Weber will be a Predator for this season. He can't be traded this year, but can after, and one would have to believe he almost certainly will be. If for no other reason that he'll probably bitch his way out of town. So Weber can continue to blast power play point shots that Corey Crawford will never see. Good times.
What does it mean for the Hawks?
It means the Preds will be better slightly better than they would have been, though I'm still convinced they would have been thoroughly annoying without Weber anyway. How much better? That's questionable. I'm not the only one who's curious to see how good both Ryan Suter and Weber are without each other. It's only been in limited doses the past couple seasons, but both have been icky when the other one is hurt. That doesn't mean Weber will be bad by any stretch, but that level of dominance is no certainty. Then again, this is Nashville, this is Barry Trotz, and he'll probably just turn Ryan Ellis into some whirling dervish that can't be stopped. Still, I'd like my top line to get looks at Kevin Klein.
It also does not mean the Preds have to be done. Even with Weber in the fold, they have 16 mildo in cap space. While they've said in the past they could go to the cap to keep their Magic Three, now they probably won't be. But they can add a piece or two if they want here, though they do have Klein, Josi, and Smith to sign next summer.
It does limit some options for the Hawks. There will be no picking the bloated cap carcass of the Flyers now. They still need help on D, but I don't know that they can be convinced that Hjalmarsson is that help. Or Montador. It probably puts them in the chase for Bouwmeester, driving his price to somewhere Stan Bowman isn't going to want to go. So that doesn't help.
And we continue to wait. Which is ok, just not all that exciting.
-Oh right, Rick Nash was dealt yesterday, and I was too busy making it through the 12 hours that is The Dark Knight Rises (I actually thought it was really good, despite Anne Hathaway's best attempts to ruin it). I'd say it's an elite player leaving the division, and that's always good, but Rick Nash gave up being an elite player long ago and the Blue Jackets don't matter. I do expect the Jackets to have a hotter start than expected, because they'll have a dressing room full of guys pulling in the same direction and teams often have a jump when the central, divisive figure is finally launched.
Oh, and Hawks fans will hate seeing Brandon Dubinsky six times per season. Guy's a royal pain in the ass. But I don't know that the Jackets are any better. Duber is a 2-3 hybrid center or winger, Anisimov is really a nothing player, and if Erixon was going to be something I feel like we would have seen it by now. The Jackets say they've improved their blue line, but unless Ryan Murray becomes Ray Bourque in a hurry, I don't see it. Jack Johnson, Adrian Aucoin, and James "I'm rich, biatch!" Wisniewski all have major, major flaws in their game. At forward, they're counting on Derick Brassard and Ryan Johansen to make major leaps. But how long have they been waiting for Brassard?