Posted February 13, 2012 12:22:30The political news that has been making headlines over the past few days has been the speculation that Florida’s newest star, Shea Weber, might be joining the Florida Panthers.
While the two sides are still in the early stages of the process, Weber is already making his case that he’s a better fit for the Panthers.
The 6-foot-3, 240-pound forward has two years remaining on his contract with the Bolts, but the team is reportedly open to extending the former third-round pick’s deal with the Panthers in the offseason.
“I don’t think that Shea has a choice.
He has a job to do and it’s a great opportunity,” Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon told the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday.
“The organization is going to make the right decision.
If Shea is not happy, he’s going to go anywhere else.”
It’s been said that Weber’s play in the Panthers’ run to the Stanley Cup Finals last season earned him a contract extension worth $6.25 million, and the team seems to agree.
The NHL’s collective bargaining agreement calls for teams to retain players who sign extensions at least two years before they reach the final season of their deals.
According to the Tampa Tribune, Weber will make $2.4 million next season, and he’s expected to earn $4.25.
That makes him the second-highest-paid defenseman in the NHL this season, behind the Panthers top-ranked center Jonathan Huberdeau, who’s expected a five-year, $40 million deal.
In order to land the winger, the Panthers are expected to make a deal for a top-line forward, which is expected to include Ryan Kesler and Matt Carle.
The Bolts have also been rumored to be interested in signing former NHL defenseman Chris Kunitz, who could be in line for a deal worth $4 million per season.
Kunitz has been on the market for a few months, but his name has come up in trade discussions, including by the Columbus Blue Jackets, New Jersey Devils, and Los Angeles Kings.
The Bolts are expected have interest in signing Kunitz.