With Weber being an RFA, we all can pretty much agree that it will take more than $8.4M to sign him away from Nashville. In doing just that, if Nashville lets him walk, the team that signs him would surrender FOUR 1st round selections to Nashville. Is it worth it to the Red Wings to give up those 4 picks?
Lets look at the history...
Since 1990, the Wings have used 13 of their 23 1st rd picks. They've traded away they pick 10 times. Of those 10 picks (just assume for a second that the Red Wings would have taken the same player drafted), only 1 has had any sort of success, 2004's pick Mike Green. I'm not going to examine who was left on the table and drafted after those 10 picks we traded, because we can't focus on the hindsight of the entire draft.
Of those 23 picks, Keith Primeau, Martin LaPointe, Mike Green, Niklas Kronwall, and Jakub Kindl are the only ones with significant NHL playing time. Jiri Fischer's career was cut short, Brendan Smith hasn't been around long enough but shows all the signs of significant time, and Matt Puempel, Riley Sheahan, and Andrei Vasilevski are too recently drafted to really be factors. So that means that in the 20 drafts from 1990-2009, only 5 players have made it to the big time and been contributors to an NHL team.
The average draft position for the Wings since 1990 has been 23rd. Since 2003 it's been 25th. And since 2008 it's been 24th. If we take a 15 year period, 1994-2008, and examine how many all-stars came from the pick #20 through the end of the 3rd round. With the exception of 2003 which has 9 guys who have made the all star team at least once, no draft class has had more than 5. And from that, totaling them up, there were 18 1st rd all stars (again this only takes into account pick 20 and beyond), 14 2nd rd, and 13 3rd rd. That means that of the 987 picks made in those 15 years, only 45 turned into all stars. 4.56% for those of you keeping track at home. But that is for picks 20-90.
So the question remains, is Shea Weber, a bonafide All-World defenseman, worth more to the Red Wings, over the course of an estimated 10-12 year deal, than a chance at drafting an All-World player within the next 4 years?
I think I would take Weber if given the opportunity.