While both parties said reaching arbitration wasn't ideal, Nashville Predators
general manager David Poile and captain Shea Weber
said Wednesday their relationship remains sound and more work will be done to keep the Norris Trophy runner-up in Tennessee for a long time.
Weber was awarded a one-year, $7.5 million contract for the 2011-12 season after a hearing Tuesday in Toronto. He will be a restricted free agent again next summer if the two sides don't agree to a deal, but the Predators won't be able to ask for salary arbitration and other teams would be eligible to negotiate an offer sheet with him starting July 1, 2012.
"We negotiated long and hard for many, many meetings. We talked from a one-year contract to a longer-term contract," Poile said. "As they say, 'Why didn't you get it done?' Well, we just couldn't quite agree on the term, the length or the structure. We just didn't get it done. From our standpoint, that is a little disappointing. We would certainly like the certainty of our captain signed to a long-term contract, but that's not to say he's not going to. It offers us a challenge. It certainly keeps me and the rest of our organization focused with our eye on the ball and what we have to do."