First Ryan Suter leaves, now maybe Shea Weber one year early?
Today big news flooded the hockey world as current Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber signed a MEGA contract offer sheet to join the Philadelphia Flyers.
The total compensation looks to be north of $100 million dollars, likely more than the matching contracts Zach Parise and Ryan Suter just signed with Minnesota on July 4th. Speculation was out in various news outlets that after Suter left Nashville, Weber was not terribly pleased. But I am not sure anyone within the Predators organization could have been prepared for this abrupt decision.
Prior to this contract offer the off season had not exactly gone to plan for Philadelphia, which lost defenseman Matt Carle to Tampa Bay, and may see future Hall of Famer Chris Pronger retire. Another team, Detroit, which heavily pursued Suter, was likely interested in Weber to via a trade. Some movement speculation had been surfacing in recent days, but Nashville had yet to pull the trigger.
Now Nashville is left with a pair of choices. They can match the contract and lock up their franchise cornerstone for the next 14 years, keeping Weber’s services until he reaches 40-years-old. Or let Weber sign in Philadelphia and receive a draft pick compensation package worth the neighborhood of four first-round draft picks.
Certainly a tough call for an organization that has yet to get Weber interested on any kind of lengthy contract. The captain played last season on a one-year, $7.5 million deal awarded via arbitration.
So why did I write this post? Much like losing Suter, the loss of Weber would have a rippling effect on the entire Nashville organization. Losing Weber without receiving a single NHL player in return takes that even further. First round draft picks are great, but considering they would be coming from Philadelphia, a team likely to finish in the NHL’s top echelon for the foreseeable future, they would be almost-second rounders with no guarantees of panning out.
Will Nashville match? I can honestly say I have no idea, and have yet to read anything official tipping G.M. David Poile’s hand, other than the team’s broad statement that they will match any offer sheet. Travis Hughes at Broad Street Hockey sums it up pretty good though. But this isn’t entirely Poile’s choice. Obviously, Predators ownership must sign off on it, and that means signing off on a LOT of money.
One of the contract years could pay Weber $26 million in a single season according to Darren Draeger of TSN via Twitter (DarrenDreger): Its going to be fascinating to see financial terms of Weber’s offer sheet. Hearing in one calendar year, he could make $26 mil.
On the total compensation package according to Dreger: Weber will receive $14 mil in each of 1st 4 years. $12 mil in next 2 yrs. $6mil in following 4 yrs…then $3mil and $1mil, $1mil,$1mil,$1mil.
That is a huge front-loaded contract. As far as some of the other restricted free agency deals from the past and how they’ve worked out? I bet Anaheim is glad they passed on matching the offer sheet Dustin Penner signed with Edmonton. The jury is still out on whether Buffalo matching Thomas Vanek’s offer sheet was a good idea.
Certainly, this is just the beginning of this story. There will be plenty more to come in the coming days as Nashville has exactly seven of them to decide on whether to match or let Weber go.
Update as of 11 A.M. of this morning:
The Nashville Predators and G.M. David Poile have issued a statement in regards to Weber’s offer sheet. Here is the quote from Poile in the press release:
“We are in receipt of the offer sheet signed between the Philadelphia Flyers and Shea Weber. Under the rules pertaining to an offer sheet, the Predators have one week to decide whether to match or accept the compensation. We have stated previously that, should a team enter into an offer sheet with Shea, our intention would be to match and retain Shea. Our ownership has provided us with the necessary resources to build a Stanley Cup-winning team. Due to the complexity of the offer sheet, we will take the appropriate time to review and evaluate it and all of its ramifications in order to make the best decision for the Predators in both the short and long-term.
“We do not anticipate any further comments on this situation until we make our decision within the next seven days.”
So Roundtable . . . What do think of today’s developments? Must Nashville match it in order to save the franchise? Does that outrageous contract make it impossible? If you were David Poile, how would you proceed? What is the residual effect from this decision on the rest of the Predators organization, namely Jon Blum and Ryan Ellis?