The Nashville Predators and New Jersey Devils will hold onto the rights of defenseman Shea Weber and forward Zach Parise through the 2011-12 season, respectively, according to TSN. The teams did this by filing for arbitration today, which also means the players cannot be offered offer sheets as RFAs. However, a contract can be struck between the team and player before their scheduled arbitration hearing.
CH: Obviously, Shea Weber and Zach Parise are the two most wanted restricted free agents on the market this year. There was some question on if both teams would be able to re-sign their best players, but it's clear now they have taken first steps to accomplishing that. As far as the Islanders are tied into this, it was a long shot at best. First they would have had to get Weber/Parise to agree to come to Long Island long-term for a lot of money. Then, the teams have the option to match the contract offered to the players. Both teams are clearly going to go out of their way to accommodate these players, so the only way they will let them go is through trade. Unless the Islanders offer Nashville or New Jersey a player like John Tavares, it would never happen. And even if they did offer up Tavares, the probability is still extremely low.
AT: Nashville losing Weber would be huge. With a low payroll to begin with, they need to hold on to these major factors in their game like Rinne, Suter and Weber. As for the Devils, they should be back into playoff contention with a healthy Parise and Kovalchuk at the helm of the offense. Good for NJ and Nashville for holding on.
CH: For the sake of the league, however, it is very good to have homegrown players staying right where they are - especially for Weber, who is an outstanding defenseman in a smaller market (but a good one) like Nashville. The last thing the NHL should want is players joining forces and forming a "Big 3" type situation, which is apparently all the rage in the NBA these days. Parity is a good thing because it keeps the cyclical nature of the league going. No one wants to see Shea Weber and Zach Parise join forces in Toronto, so this is good for the Predators and Devils, and it's good for the NHL. Now all the Devils have to do is get Parise under the cap, which they will. And now it's time for the Islanders to turn to more realistic options.
AT: Absolutely. Being faithful is huge in sports and gets you respect. Speaking of the NBA, look at Dirk Nowitzski. He never left Dallas even when there'd been rumors of him being traded at times. The only place he took his talents to was to the damn gym, and he's gained no enemies and a ring in the process. Glad to see that carry over to the NHL, and let's hope we see a long term deal with John Tavares coming sooner than expected.
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