RFA Report: Shea Weber proving his reliability

Updated: December 29, 2010 at 10:21 pm by Alexander Monaghan

RFA Report will be a once-a-week column in which we focus on impending RFAs and their fantasy values. Consider these pieces one for everybody– whether you like offer sheets, re-signings, potential trades or actually play in a fantasy league that counts real-life salaries. While we pride ourselves in reporting and analyzing the facts we intend to stay within out normal bounds while respecting the fact that everybody needs a little speculation sometimes.

There is no doubt that the Nashville Predators need to pay Shea Weber more.

The captain makes a modest 4.5 million salary as a restricted free agent and although this season could be considered a down year statistically for the blueliner, he still should make more money.

We consider this year a down season at least statistically so far, which as fantasy owners is all we care about. Right now Weber projects to score roughly 11 goals with 34 points which would be about 10 points less than his totals of last year. However, there are numerous factors that come into play when looking at these numbers.

The Predators have been without their expected top two centers in David Legwand and Matthew Lombardi as well as recently losing solid depth scorers Martin Erat and Steve Sullivan.  Other forwards Marcel Goc and Patric Hornqvist have also missed time as only seven skaters, including Weber, have played in all 36 games. Most importantly, his partner Ryan Suter already missed 11 games and is having another down offensive season with only one goal.

Without this myriad of players, Weber has struggled; but can you blame him?

If he has no skilled teammates to set up or set him up then of course his points will go down.  His projected loss of 10 points comes out to exactly five goals and five assists, which could be made up by a hot stretch or simply his surroundings getting better. Weber has never played a full season and failed to produce offensively with his lowest goal total coming last year with 16.

Outside of Francois Bouillon and Kevin Klein, he faces the highest quality of competition amongst defenseman while having the highest Corsi rating.  According to the advanced stats, he does what he needs to do, moving the puck up the ice. These advanced statistics fail to take into account a nasty snarl, lots of snarl and one of the hardest shots in all of Canada.

In addition, he continues to play not only important minutes but the most minutes with an average time of ice of 24:47– ranking 10th in the League in ice time and first among any Predator.

Outside of Pekka Rinne/Anders Lindback and maybe Steve Sullivan, Weber is the MVP and leader of this hardworking Predators team. This summer or likely before he should get a modest pay raise, in the Dion Phaneuf territory.

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