On the muggy morning after, the Nashville Predators and their fans look to the future. Here are three of the questions they might be pondering:
First and foremost: Can they keep Shea Weber in Music City?
The Grizzly Adams of playoff defensemen, Weber can be a restricted free agent on July 1. That means interested teams -- read: anyone with enough cap space -- can deliver an offer sheet to his door. The Predators could match an offer, but a potential suitor could make the deal so rich that it would be budget-breaking for Nashville to do so.
Weber earned $4.5 million last season. When I look around the league, I have to figure he could command an annual salary of $7M or more. He could opt to sign a one-year deal in Nashville and test a completely open market as a UFA in July 2012. Of course, the landscape for player movement against the backdrop of a CBA negotiation next summer could be quite different.