I know this is far, far too early to begin discussing this, but we here at the Wilderness are flying high, why not throw out another dream scenario that could unfold next year during free agency.
David Poile is scrambling in Nashville now that the Wild plucked Ryan Suter from the Predators. By all accounts, he is doing all that is in his power to secure Nashville Captain Shea Weber to a long-term deal. But what if he's unable to do so? What if Weber, who is arguably the best defenseman in the league, decides to follow in the footsteps of Zach Parise and just sign his 1-year qualifying offer for $7,500,000, making him an unrestricted free agent at the end of this upcoming season?
Kevin Allen wrote a good article in the USA Today about how this situation smells a lot like the Jordan Staal situation from a few weeks ago. He details that if the Predators are unable to sign Shea to a mega-deal then the Predators should get rid of him and recoup what they can. Sure Poile could trade him, so that he's not left empty handed, but there is nothing forcing Weber to sign an extension to the team that acquires him. He could foreseeably just play out the rest of the season and go into free agency afterwards.
This is where it would get interesting. If Weber went into free agency he would command a crazy amount of money, most likely more than Parise and Suter just received a couple of days ago. But as we have talked about ad nauseum, the Wild are going to be shedding some very unfriendly contracts after next season concludes. Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Matt Cullen and Niklas Backstrom all will come off the books and create $13.58 million in new cap space. Yes, Cal Clutterbuck Marco Scandella and Jared Spurgeon will all become restricted free agents and would warrant raises, but (big assumption here) if the cap continues to be steady, I believe that the Wild would have the ability to sign all of them, that is, if they are all still a part of this team.
The Wild would have an inside track into getting Weber to come here, being that we signed his only linemate for the last six years in Ryan Suter. Signing Shea Weber would solidify the Wild's top defensive pair for the next decade. Weber is a game changer, and could make the the Wild into a legitimate cup contender for years to come. Call me crazy, but I see this as a very real possibility for how this season unfolds.