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What you should keep in mind regarding the Preds “offer”…

In what can only be seen as a disastrous situation for the Nashville Predators, a deal could not be reached with team captain Shea Weber in time to avoid arbitration. Therefore, Weber and the Preds walked into an arbitration hearing this morning and reaction has ranged from “patient” to “panic mode.”

That shot up a whole ‘nother level when Hockey Night in Canada insider Elliotte Friedman tweeted that the Preds had submitted an offer of just $4.75 million. Yes, red flags go up when you hear that but let’s keep some things in mind here:

Ever watched Pawn Stars? Rick and the Old Man (Or General Manager David Poile and the Preds, in this case) always offer low. The reason? Because the seller is going to offer high. That way, at the end of the day, the two parties come up with a legitimate compromise. That’s exactly what’s going on here. In order for the Predators to bring their captain back for around the $6.5 million mark they’d like to pay him at this point, they need to submit a low offer.

Weber, on the other hand, wants as much money as he can get so he submits a high offer, which, in this case, was $8 million. Is Weber worth that much? Absolutely. Can the Predators pay him that and still have enough room to sign Ryan Suter and Pekka Rinne long term, however? Absolutely not. But you’re the player. In order to get as much as possible, you “bid” high. And that’s just what the Weber camp is doing.

So, before anyone jumps to any conclusions about how this is a “slap in the face of the captain!” or “how could they think they’re worth $8 million a year?!” take a deep breath and realize that this is the game. This is the game that is necessary to play.

Also, you have to trust that Weber knows that it’s just part of the strategy. Sitting in that room and hearing Poile “justify” why his captain is worth only $4.7 million could be painful, sure. But don’t think for a second that the Weber camp hasn’t stood up and “justified” their $8 million argument with things like “They won’t shell out money for top talent and this is just another example of that!” and “This team has only won a single playoff series in it’s history and without my client, they wouldn’t have won that one.” and even a little “They have a defense-first system and they have no scoring. That makes my client the most important piece to their puzzle.”

Do we wish it wasn’t like this? Yes. Do we wish the two sides could just agree on a $6.5 million deal and get it over with? Of course. And they still may. The two sides can negotiate up until the arbitrator makes his ruling (which can come as late as Thursday morning, by the way). But it doesn’t work like that. This isn’t utopia. This is a business. And, in business, sometimes the legal system has to get involved and, when it does, these are the necessary games that have to be played.

As unfortunate as that may be.

PHOTO CREDIT: Dylan Moody // special to (used with permission)