Addressing the latest Shea Weber rumors, plus speculation the Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens could make a trade.
Will the Predators trade Shea Weber?
THE TENNESSEAN: Addressing a question from a reader regarding the recent Shea Weber trade rumors, Adam Vingan acknowledges they’re becoming difficult to ignore this season as the Nashville Predators struggle to find consistency.If the Predators are to make a bold move, it would involve drawing upon their defensive depth for trade bait. However, Vingan notes GM David Poile told him last week he has no interest in deconstructing his defense. “The topic of trading Weber has become an almost annual rite around here, and yet he remains a part of the team, which should lend enough insight into Predators general manager David Poile’s thought process on the matter,” writes Vingan.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Factors like the Predators blueline depth, lack of reliable scoring depth among their forwards and Weber’s lack of a no-trade clause are largely behind all the trade speculation regarding their captain. On the one hand, Weber seems the logical trade candidate, as he’s bound to fetch a skilled scorer to bolster the Preds’ offense. On the other hand, he’s also carrying an expensive annual salary-cap hit (over $7.8 million) that is very difficult to move in a season where many teams are squeezed for cap space. Poile also seems reluctant to trade Weber, preferring to see if his captain can finally lead the Predators on a deep playoff run. If Poile were to trade Weber, my guess is that move takes place in the offseason when teams have more cap space and desire to spend. That, of course, will depend upon how the Preds do this season. Another early playoff exit could tax Poile’s patience.
Scrivens for Kassian?
NBC SPORTS: Jason Brough reports there’s speculation the Edmonton Oilers could trade goaltender Ben Scrivens (currently buried in the minors) to the Montreal Canadiens for winger Zack Kassian, who was already recently demoted following his completion of stage two of the league’s substance-abuse program.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Swapping Kassian for Scrivens isn’t likely to bolster the Habs goaltending, and it certainly won’t address the club’s primary concern, which is a sharp decline in their offense. While Mike Condon, who’s seen the bulk of the starts in December, has given up three or fewer goals in all but one of his games this month, the Canadiens had only one game where they scored more than two goals. If the Habs offense was rolling along as it was over a month ago, they likely would’ve won half of those games. Scrivens, meanwhile, has only two wins with a 3.47 GAA and .893 SP in 10 games in the AHL this season. As for the Oilers, they’ll get a big forward who at worst will provide some depth to their AHL club.
**UPDATE** And the deal went down just as speculated. Again, I doubt this helps either club.