7/19/2012 MORNING UPDATE AT BOTTOM
Shea Weber has signed a 14 year offer sheet with the Philadelphia Flyers.
The amount of money on the 14 year deal has not been specified. All that is publicly known is that the deal is worth $100+ million. The Nashville Predators have 7 days to match the offer, or choose to accept the compensation, as determined by the rules of the current CBA.
If Weber's deal is worth $109,693,066 or more over that time period ($7,835,219+ per year), the Flyers would owe Nashville 4 first round picks. If the deal is worth a dollar less than that, Philly would owe the Preds 2 first round picks, a second rounder and a third. If the Predators match the offer, they agree to the exact terms Weber signed to with Philadelphia. They also lose their right to trade Weber for the first year of the contract. After that, regular rules apply.
Weber is everything for the Predators...well, except what Pekka Rinne is to them (which is more than a little, for what its worth). Shea is the captain and leader of this young team. He is a two-time Norris Trophy runner up for the league's best defenseman. He led the team in points by a defenseman, and was fourth overall on the team in points. Many a fan are concerned that this signing means he does not want to play in Nashville anymore. I'm not one of those fans. Weber knew when he signed the offer sheet that the Preds would have the chance to match the offer, binding him to the agreement. If he wanted out, no way he risks that for 14 (four-freaking-teen!) years.
Everything points to the Predators matching the offer. General Manager David Poile has publicly stated that the organization is prepared to match any and all offer sheets. The question lies in whether or not the Predators can AFFORD the contract if a large portion of the money is front-loaded. Sure, the Preds can afford $8 million per year for the next 14 years. But can they afford $50 million in the first two years? $26 million in the first year? That's to be determined.
We will likely hear an official statement from the Flyers tomorrow. Hopefully that statement will include the full terms of the offer sheet. After that, it is simply a waiting game, although I doubt that game lasts very long. If the Predators match, and I suspect they will, they will most likely do so quickly. Poile has stated his confidence that once the Weber situation is figured out, the rest of the off-season will fall into place. Let's see if that's true.
Reports now show that the monetary structure for Weber's offer sheet is as follows:
Years 1-4: $14mil
Years 5-6: $12mil
Years 7-10: $6mil
Year 11: $3mil
Years 12-14: $1mil
The total value of the contract, thus, is $110mil. This means the compensation for the offer sheet would be four first round picks. However, how valuable is a first round pick from a team that will likely finish in the top 5-10 teams? Not very.
Predators GM David Poile released this statement earlier today. It feels mildly like Poile is backtracking on his statement to match any offer. Then again, the "Our ownership has provided us with the necessary resources to build a Stanley Cup-winning team." line make you think he is ready to go the distance and get Weber in the gold for the next 14 years. We'll see what happens.
MKYSports will continue to monitor this story as it develops.