Making the case for the Predators to trade Shea Weber, a list of every NHL team’s most difficult player to trade, and the speculated trade value of Leo Komarov.

The case for trading Shea Weber.

Could the Predators trade Shea Weber this season?

Could the Predators trade Shea Weber this season?

ESPN.COM: Scott Burnside recently suggested it could take a bold move, like trading defenseman and captain Shea Weber, to turn the Nashville Predators into a Stanley Cup contender. With Weber lacking a no-trade clause on a contract with a $7.8 million annual cap hit, the Predators can trade him anywhere. He wonders if the Edmonton Oilers would offer up Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and either Jordan Eberle or Leon Draisaitl, or if Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin or perhaps Sidney Crosby would accept a trade to Nashville, or if the Columbus Blue Jackets would part with Ryan Johansen for Weber.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Weber should fetch a substantial return for the Predators, but his cap hit make him difficult to move during a season with so many teams lacking significant cap space. It would have to be pretty much a dollar-for-dollar deal. I still think Predators GM David Poile wants to see how his team performs this season before making any decisions on a significant shakeup. If the Preds fall short again this season, a major move could come in the offseason, when teams have more cap space and a willingness to spend. 

List of the hardest players for each team to trade.

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox recently listed the one player hardest to trade for each NHL team. Anaheim’s Ryan Kesler, Arizona’s Mike Smith, Boston’s Zdeno Chara, Buffalo’s Brian Gionta, Calgary’s Ladislav Smid, Carolina’s Cam Ward, Chicago’s Bryan Bickell, Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov, Columbus’ David Clarkson, Dallas’ Kari Lehtonen, Detroit’s Jimmy Howard, Edmonton’s Andrew Ference, Florida’s Dave Bolland, Los Angeles’ Dustin Brown, Minnesota’s Jason Pominville, Montreal’s Tomas Plekanec, Nashville’s Shea Weber, New Jersey’s Travis Zajac, NY Islanders’ Mikhail Grabovski, NY Rangers’ Dan Boyle, Ottawa’s Chris Phillips, Philadelphia’s Vincent Lecavalier, Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang, San Jose’s Joe Thornton, St. Louis’ Paul Stastny, Tampa Bay’s Matt Carle, Toronto’s Dion Phaneuf, Vancouver’s Sedin twins, Washington’s Brooks Orpik and Winnipeg’s Ondrej Pavelec.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Note the running theme? All are either ageing or injury-hampered players carrying expensive contracts or expensive salaries for this season that are extremely difficult to move right now. 

Komarov worth a late first-round pick?

TSN’s Darren Dreger (via Chris Nichols of Today’s Slapshot) recently stated his belief Toronto Maple Leafs forward Leo Komarov could fetch a late first-round draft pick if the Leafs shop him later this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Komarov is enjoying a career season playing for Mike Babcock. He’s got terrific defensive stats to match his surprising offensive output this season. He’s also carrying an affordable $2.95 million annual cap hit through 2017-18. I’ve always liked his style, but he’s not worth a late first-round pick. Granted, more than one NHL GM has overpaid and it’s possible a rival GM could lose his mind and part with a late first for Komarov. But he’s turning 29 in January, is only in his third NHL season and has never had the type of production he’s currently enjoying in his previous two NHL seasons. We also don’t know if he can maintain his current pace between now and the Feb. 29 trade deadline. Komarov is shining offensively playing for one of the NHL’s top coaches on a team where he’s getting the opportunity to play top-six minutes. He might not do as well on a deeper team with a different coach. Giving up a late-first rounder is too much for a guy who, until a month ago, was widely considered at best a third-line checker. But hey! If the Leafs can find a GM willing to make that move, go for it.