Shea Weber is Back in the House
Wednesday, 08.03.2011 / 3:31 PM
So Shea Weber is back in house officially now, even though there was never really any doubt about it since the Predators took him to arbitration. It simply bought the club more time to work out a potential deal, and if nothing else you had the arbitration decision itself as a backstop.
Now that the captain is firmly back under Nashville auspices, we can really look at where this team is bound this season. A few changes under the hood will bring the possibility of surprises – who will step up this training camp to become the new “find” for this team?
Defensively you have your Weber/Suter pair, but beyond that things might get a little murky. Kevin Klein and Jonathon Blum will be patrolling the blue line, but Frankie Bouillon had another setback from his concussion and it’s impossible to say what his camp (or season) status will be. It almost goes without saying that either one or two guys get the chance to step up from Milwaukee, or perhaps one of the newly-acquired D-men like Brent Lebda or Tyler Sloan gets a crack at the top six. Of course, everyone’s focus in camp will likely be on Roman Jossi and Ryan Ellis, but don’t forget Teemu Laakso who has seen time with the Preds in the past. And Mattias Ekholm is in the mix too.
Up front Nashville looks very different from a year ago, with the departure of nameslike Sullivan, Ward, Lombardi (we barely knew ye) and Dumont. In their place again the Preds will be givingyounger players a good shot at things. Nashville picked up Niclas Bergfors, a former first round pick, in the hopes that he could be come yet another Predators success story from another team’s cast-off. The Predators would like to see continued development from Colin Wilson, Sergei Kostitsyn, Blake Geoffrion, Patric Hornqvist… the list goes on. And that’s not counting prospects all champing at the bit to earn a spot. Yes, the team will be young, but there’s room for someone to step up and seize the brass ring this year.
It all ties together with Weber. And now that we know the situation, at least for the immediate future, everyone in Nashville can put the focus back squarely on winning Lord Stanley’s Cup next spring.