At least Shea Weber and David Poile agreed on the fact that they couldn't agree. Following Wednesday's arbitration ruling that gave Weber the largest single-season contract in Nashville Predators history -- $7.5 million for 2011-12 -the captain and the general manager accepted blame equally for the fact that months of negotiations failed to produce a resolution. "The onus has got to be on both sides because we didn't come to a long-term deal," Weber said. "Obviously this is a temporary solution." Added Poile: "We negotiated long and hard for many, many meetings, and we talked from a one-year contract to a many-year contract. … We just couldn't quite agree on the term, the length or the structure. So we just didn't get it done." Enter arbitration. The team requested the process at the start of the new contract year as a way to guarantee that Weber, a restricted free agent, could not be signed to offer sheets by any of the NHL's other franchises. The idea was that - free of interference - the sides would agree to a new deal on their own well before they ever got to this point. Tuesday morning, Weber and his representatives requested an $8.5 million award, and the Predators countered with a $4.75 million bid. The binding decision, much closer to Weber's desire, came down a little more than a day later. "It's a business," Weber said. "Obviously, they're trying to get the best deal they can - if that's what you want to call it. … It's not personal. It's a business. "…Hopefully we can get something done for long-term, but for now a one-year deal is done, and I'm excited to get ready for the season." Based on salary cap impact, Weber will be the highest-paid defenseman in the league this season. At 25 years old (he will turn 26 in a little more than a week) he already has played more than 400 NHL contests and has been the team captain for one season. Earlier this year he became the first Nashville player to earn first-team All-Star honors and was a runner-up to Nicklas Lidstrom for the Norris Trophy (top defenseman). In 2010 he was a key member of Canada's gold medal winning team at the Olympics.
Weber gets franchise-record contract in arbitration ruling
Nashville City Paper | Aug 4