May 7, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber (6) in game five of the 2012 Western Conference semifinals at Jobing.com Arena. The Coyotes beat the Predators 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE
Breaking: Shea Weber agrees to offer sheet with Philadelphia. 14 years, upwards of $100 mil. Preds have 7 days to match. Wow!!— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 19, 2012
Nashville was working on a trade and its believed several deadlines passed before Flyers grew tired of waiting. Weber signed offer sheet.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 19, 2012
If the Predators don't match, they get four first round picks, which would be hugely disappointing.
If however the Predators have the money and willingness to match, it seems like Philly did a huge favor to Nashville. As Dirk outlined, a one year offersheet would force the Predators to let Weber walk to unrestricted free agency. If the Predators match this offer, they are guaranteed to have their captained locked up in Nashville for the rest of his career.
I don't think it's too much of an exaggeration to say that this is the defining moment of this young franchise. David Poile and Barry Trotz have been talking about how the Predators are being primed to be a cap-ceiling team. Time to put your money where your mouth is, everyone. Match. Do it.
Update: OK some more thoughts... First I don't believe that Shea wants out. If he did, why would he risk being stuck in Nashville for 14 years? Some are suggesting the Preds should match and trade him after the first year of the new contract, but I see that as the least likely scenario, ASSUMING they don't go broke by the second year.
The only way I see Nashville not matching is if there's no limit to upfront money and Philly front-loaded this thing with crazy signing bonuses, making it financially impossible for Preds ownership. Let's hope that's not the case. If it's only somewhat front-loaded, then the contract is basically what Suter got, which the Preds were supposedly willing to match.
Update 2: Final thoughts... Management has told us fans the following things:
- They want to keep Shea Weber.
- They think Shea wants to stay.
- They will match any offer sheet.
- They had the money to match Suter's best offer.
- They have the money to be a cap team.
It'll be a PR disaster if they don't match. So match!