NASHVILLE, TN - APRIL 20: Shea Weber #6 of the Nashville Predators fires a slapshot toward Valtteri Filppula #51 of the Detroit Red Wings in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bridgestone Arena on April 20, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Darren Dreger sent out a tweet Friday morning stating that the New York Rangers were still "very interested in Rick Nash" but that the team is "currently exploring other options as well." The message was simple: If something doesn't get done soon then the Rangers are very likely to drop out of the Nash sweepstakes -- if Glen Sather hasn't already.
If this is the case, it's expected that the Rangers are going to make a run at Anaheim Ducks sniper Bobby Ryan, and if rumors can be believed the two sides have already had preliminary talks -- ending when the Ducks requested that Derek Stepan be made available in the package.
Ryan is obviously a better target than Nash simply because he's three years younger, had a much more manageable contract and scores at nearly the same clip. But Ryan will also be an expensive option, so who else is on the table for Sather?
Join me after the jump for more.
I should state, for the record, that there has been no official motion for the Nashville Predators to move Shea Weber to the trade block. At least not as of yet. But with Ryan Suter moving his things to Minnesota, and the Predators losing one of their star defenseman for nothing, general manager David Poile can't afford to have the same thing happen to Weber.
So the solution is pretty simple. The Predators need to offer Weber a long-term deal now, and see what Weber does. If he takes the deal, then everything is solved and they can move on to their next moves. But if he doesn't, and it becomes clear that he has no interest in staying in Nashville, then the Predators don't have an option, they have to move him. They can't afford to lose both Suter and Weber for nothing, although to be fair, Weber will earn them a significantly higher return.
If the Rangers were to trade for him (forget his cap hit and cost for a moment) then he would solve two of the Rangers' biggest problems. He would add some offense, and he would be a major boost to the Rangers' power play. The team would obviously need to sign a depth forward (say Shane Doan or Kristian Huselius) to help keep pace while Marian Gaborik is out.
Here are some things to note about this possibility that makes the whole thing unlikely:
A) Weber is going to be expensive. Remarkably expensive. If Sather makes a move for Weber it will most likely cost Michael Del Zotto and then at least a few of these names: Carl Hagelin, Derek Stepan, Tim Erixon, Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, Artem Anisimov, Christian Thomas, J.T. Miller and one or two high draft picks. I'm assuming Chris Kreider and Ryan McDonagh would remain untouchable. But McDonagh (who would almost certianly be the type of player Poile would want) might kill the deal if the Rangers wouldn't move him. And that's OK. Honestly, Weber would be so expensive he's almost not even targeting. Unless:
B) This is more of a side note to point A, but it's too important to be a footnote. Weber -- like Nash -- has a ton of power here if he chooses to wield it. Weber can make his own list of team he will accept a trade to, since he would need to sign an extension with whatever team acquired his rights, otherwise that team would lose him for nothing if he left. So if Weber says that he will only sign an extension with a few teams, and the Rangers happen to be on that list, then the bidding partners goes down significantly, as does the price. He might still be too expensive, but it's worth noting that this is a possibility.
C) His contract will be immense. Think in the realm of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter's 13-year, $98-million deal. It's not so much the cap hit as it is the years that will make this deal hard to swallow. Weber is definitely worth a deal of that magnitude, but it's his acquisition that causes the problem, because ...
D) Would bringing him in actually solve a problem? Say the Rangers make the deal and give up Del Zotto, Erixon and then one of either Staal or Girardi. Suddenly that top-four defense that the Rangers have is blown to pieces just to bring in Weber. Sure, he fulfills Del Zotto's role as power play quarterback, and he is also your tough-as-nails, logs huge minutes defenseman, but the team would have to rely on Anton Stralman and Stu Bickel more than they would want to. Or acquire another defenseman via trade.
In the end, Weber is an enticing possibility. But unless he comes out and publicly says "I'm only coming to the New York Rangers," I simply don't see this happening.
But, it's worth discussing. Do you guys think the Rangers should make a play for Weber? Or should they pass if the Predators do need to move him?