We’re only eight days removed from the Tampa Bay Lightning winning their second straight Stanley Cup, and already one Nashville Predators legend has called it a career, and a second might not be far behind.
In news everyone saw coming, longtime goaltender Pekka Rinne announced his retirement after 15 years with the organization, and on Wednesday evening NHL Network’s Renaud Lavoie reported that former captain Shea Weber might have played his final game after dealing with a litany of injuries to his thumb, knee and ankle.
Montreal isn’t expected to protect Weber in the Seattle expansion draft either.
Typically, a team wouldn’t be as invested in one of its former players like the Predators are with Weber, however, most teams don’t have to worry about shelling out a large chunk of money in a flat cap year to said former player.
As part of the 14-year, $110 million contract the Predators signed Weber to in 2012 that matched an offer sheet he had signed with the Philadelphia Flyers, Nashville opened itself up to possible future penalties under the cap recapture, which was created to deter teams from evading the salary cap under the previous CBA with front-loaded contracts.
The NHL has since banned such contracts, limiting contracts to seven years on the open market and eight years for an extension. The cap recapture is calculated by the difference in total salary and total cap hit over the length of the contract divided by the number of years left on the contract until retirement.
Simply put: if Weber retires before his contract expires, the Predators will be tagged with a $4.9 million cap hit through the 2026 season when the contract expires. Nashville would then be looking at $6.9 million in dead money of an $81.5 million salary cap after paying Kyle Turris’ $2 million per year buyout through 2028.
The Weber news could alter how general manager David Poile attacks free agency, and it could also damage the Predators’ odds of re-signing forward Mikael Granlund, who is set to see a salary spike from the $3.75 million he played for last season, or fellow forward Erik Haula.
Montreal, however, could place Weber on long-term injured reserve to provide some cap relief if it believes his injuries are potentially career ending, similar to what the Detroit Red Wings did with Johan Franzen or the Chicago Blackhawks did with Marian Hossa.
Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_