In the summer of 1990, a big, mobile two-way defenseman hit the NHL market as a restricted free agent.

Scott Stevens of the Washington Capitals became open to an offer sheet. He signed one with the St. Louis Blues for four years at $5.1 million total, and the Capitals let him walk. In compensation, they received five first-round draft picks. Stevens turned into a three-time Stanley Cup winner and a Hall of Fame defenseman.

The Capitals' general manager at the time was David Poile, the current GM of the Predators .

This offseason, Poile faced a similar situation with defenseman Shea Weber . A one-year, $7.5 million deal was reached through arbitration .

Stevens' deal is one that possibly haunts Poile as he continues his pursuit to lock Weber into a long-term contract. Weber will be a restricted free agent next offseason, and an unrestricted free agent after 2012-13 - in the absence of a long-term contract.

"I don't think (Washington) was able to foresee what was going to happen and the impact Scott Stevens had on a team," said former Calgary Flames GM Craig Button, whose father, Jack Button, worked closely with Poile in Washington. "When you look at it in hindsight, Scott Stevens is a Hall of Fame defenseman. He was a homegrown player, he was rugged, he was unique. Just like Shea Weber is unique."