Originally posted on Fang Faction  |  Last updated 7/3/12

With the question of hot topic unrestricted free agents, Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, on where they will end up at the start of the season, not too many people and fans are focusing on Predators' captain, Shea Weber. Right now, Weber is a restricted free agent, so he can be traded or signed. Although, before anything happens with Weber, these questions have to be answered...

Where will Suter and Parise go?
What teams are real bidders for Weber?
What could the Predators get in return for Weber?
Is Bobby Ryan and, or Rick Nash available for trade?

There are a lot of questions that will need to be answered before a Shea Weber trade or signing can happen. Read more after the jump.

As it stands right now, Tuesday night, July 3, Ryan Suter and Zach Parise haven't decided where they will sign. Both are apparent good friends and have talked to each other about (I don't know for sure, but most likely) "Where are you leaning towards going?", "How much are you getting offered?" and "Would you like to sign with the same team?".

The key is this question, "Would you like to sign with the same team?". If they are asking themselves that, it cannot be good for the Predators. The possible teams are the Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators and Detroit Red Wings. However, I think Nashville is out of the race. Both are Minnesota boys and would like to play for their city.

If Ryan Suter was to move on, that leaves Shea Weber as the only first line defenseman the Predators have unless David Poile goes out and signs Matt Carle. Although according to a few reports, if Suter doesn't go to the Flyers, Carle is back in Philadelphia. As you can tell now, the dominoes will start to fall once Suter decides.

Let's say Suter does leave, Weber is basically left out to dry. Shea will probably want a trade to head out of Nashville to be with a real contender. If Poile was to let other NHL general managers know that Weber is available for trade at the right price, the Predators would get something in return that no team or general manager could refuse. For instance, a top line center, a star prospect, a solid defenseman and two first round picks. 

Now, you tell me. Would you refuse that for Shea Weber, who may not want to be here after Suter leaves? Most likely not.

Here are some teams that I believe that could be in the running for acquiring Predators' captain, Shea Weber:

  • Edmonton Oilers
  • Philadelphia Flyers
  • Anaheim Ducks
  • Columbus Blue Jackets

Edmonton, Philadelphia, Anaheim and Columbus all need defensive help and have either a top line player available or are willing to give up a top line forward for trade.

The Edmonton Oilers may fly under a lot of people's radar, but they were in the running for the Suter sweepstakes. Edmonton would be a dream place for Weber. The offense is set with young stars like Nail Yakupov, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle. Luckily, all of them could be available for Weber, but only one of them will be in the trade.

I could see this in being a trade possibility, Shea Weber for Jordan Eberle, Ladislav Smid, Linus Omark and a 2013 first round pick. Edmonton would have overpaid, but it would be good in the long-run.

With the Oilers signing Justin Schultz, he could be a top line defenseman. To add Weber with Schultz would grow his game into something special and make Edmonton real contenders for a Stanley Cup.

The Philadelphia Flyers could offer the Predators almost anything they want because of the depth Philly has on their roster. Sean Couturier is a up-and-coming scorer with lots of potential at 19. Matt Read is another player who could be a role player for Barry Trotz on line with Paul Gaustad. Also, Jakub Voracek is a young player who could also play with Gaustad and Read as role players on the third line. With Voracek being a restricted free agent, it is very possible.

To get a defenseman from the Flyers would definitely be included to allow a roster spot for Weber to come in. Andrej Meszaros could be a player Nashville would receive to free up cap space. Plus, there isn't a need for Meszaros to waive his no trade clause. 

Of course with these four players being in return, there would be no draft picks included.

The Columbus Blue Jackets are a minor contender with Rick Nash being available. However, I don't see Poile trading Weber within the division, but anything can happen for the right price. That is the same philosophy for Scott Howson, general manager of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Poile and Howson both think highly about Weber and Nash, as they should. I don't see Howson being smart enough to add in a player or two to complete the deal. A Weber for Nash trade would definitely benefit the Columbus Blue Jackets. That is what Howson wants and thinks is fair.

That is why there won't be a deal between the two teams.

Bobby Ryan is the hot topic in Anaheim right now. The Ducks have been shopping him around for a while now and a trade could happen in the next few weeks. A Weber for Ryan trade wouldn't be enough for Poile. Anaheim would have to sweeten the pot.

A Shea Weber for Bobby Ryan and Devante Smith-Pelly would be a fair trade. Smith-Pelly is a Canadian prospect who has played in the World Juniors the past couple of seasons. Unfortunately, last WJs he didn't play a whole game due to an injury.

Smith-Pelly is a highly coveted player who can play with Trotz's system well. He is a good skater with a lot of potential to put up big numbers. 

Hopefully you enjoyed this speculation from an outsider. The dominoes will start falling for where the Predators move next. Hopefully none of this happens and Poile signs Weber and Suter. Although, if Suter leaves, I believe Weber is gone next.

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