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So…what if Nashville doesn’t match Philly’s offer sheet for Weber?

Jul 19, 2012, 11:57 AM EDT

Shea Weber Getty Images

The Nashville Predators are on the clock.

Late Wednesday night, it was revealed the Philadelphia Flyers signed RFA defenseman Shea Weber to a 14-year, $110 million offer sheet — giving Nashville seven days to match, or let Weber go in exchange for a bounty of draft picks.

To some, the issue of matching is a no-brainer: Nashville must do it. Having already lost Ryan Suter for nothing, the team cannot afford to lose its captain and best player (both on the ice and in terms of public relations.)

But to GM David Poile and ownership, it might not be that simple. Philly’s front-loaded, bonus-laden offer could put the Preds in a financial bind — Weber’s set to make $80 million over the next six years alone.

Some ramifications to consider:

Draft Picks

Nashville would receive Philadelphia’s first round picks at the 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 NHL Entry Drafts. It should be noted that Philadelphia has made the playoffs five straight years while averaging 98 points per season. If that keeps up, those picks would likely be in the 20s.

Blueline

As mentioned earlier, losing both Weber and Suter in the same summer would be catastrophic — they were Nashville’s best defensemen and two of the club’s better scorers (finishing fourth and fifth in points, respectively.) This isn’t to say the Preds would be bereft of talented rearguards, though. Ryan Ellis, Roman Josi, Kevin Klein and Jonathan Blum were all top-40 draft picks and Mattias Ekholm was named the Swedish league’s best defenseman last season. But it’s beyond optimistic to suggest any will develop to the Weber/Suter level.

Backlash

According to Capgeek, the Preds currently have the NHL’s lowest payroll and are $13 million away from hitting the salary cap floor. They almost need to spend money at this point (and hey, shelling out $110 million to Weber would be a way to do that.)

Poile also noted on a few occasions his offseason plan was to re-sign Suter, lock up Weber long-term and take a run at Zach Parise, suggesting he was ready to break open the checkbook.

That said, the contract is ridiculously front-loaded and would be an unprecedented amount of money for Nashville to pay a player. Case in point: Pekka Rinne signed a seven-year, $49 million deal this season that was the biggest in franchise history.

The first four years of Weber’s deal cost $56 million.

Regardless, it would be a PR nightmare if the Preds pass. There’s no calculating how hockey fans in Tennessee would react (one suspects poorly) and the perception of the team/franchise would take a major hit, both publicly and among players. What high profile free agent would ever consider Nashville after that?

Related:

Preds GM Poile issues statement on Weber offer sheet

Report: Weber’s front-loaded offer sheet worth $110 million, packed with signing bonuses

Report: Philadelphia, Shea Weber agree on a 14-year offer sheet

On the chances of Shea Weber getting an offer sheet

  1. somekat - Jul 19, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    Hard to see Nashville not matching. But than again, it’s gotta be tough for a owner to pay out half the value of his team to one player over the next 6 years. He’s not some type of created video game player that instantly changed a team from bottom dweller to cup contender. Sure they have the cap space, but if they do sign him, that takes most of it up. So they are basically stuck with what they have (a few of their other young guys are up for raises soon, no?). Which is a 8 seed team, minus Suter.

    Either way, great move by the Flyers. If they don’t match, they get their coveted anchor defenseman. 4 picks in the 20s is reasonable. But it woudln’t shock me if the Flyers try to work somethinge else out. If they do match, he will be in Nashville a long time, and not in Pitssburgh, New York etc.

    • somekat - Jul 19, 2012 at 12:09 PM

      More to my point about Nashville. They do have 13 million in cap space, and need to get to the floor. So if they sign this deal, that takes them to about 5, and they still have to fill out the roster. So we’ll say to be safe, they fill out the team and have 2 million left. If that were financially feasable for them, don’t you think they would of spent somewhere near the cap before?

      Teams that are the lowest in payroll are usually the lowest in payroll for a reason.

      • ruddigervancity - Jul 19, 2012 at 12:29 PM

        They are 13 million away from JUST HITTING THE FLOOR, then they have the gap between the floor and the ceiling that they could spend if they wanted to. I’m guessing that’s between 20 and 30 million under the cap ceiling…

      • somekat - Jul 19, 2012 at 1:18 PM

        Ahh. My misunderstanding. I thought they were 13 million away from the cap, not the floor.

        Same still applies. if they are 13 million from the floor, they obviously don’t feel like it’s a real option financially to pay as much as other teams in the league.

      • puckhead1966 - Jul 19, 2012 at 2:41 PM

        They have to spend to the floor, they have no choice in the matter. Also they only have 18 players signed, usually a team has 24-25 on its big league roster. So 13 million min, to spend on signing 7 players to get to the floor. As of today not including Weber’s salary they have 29.345 million in cap space to sign 7 players. Weber’s hit would be 7.9, they would still have to spend between 5 and 22 million on 5-6 contracts.

      • lorddarkhelmet - Jul 19, 2012 at 4:06 PM

        It’s almost BETTER for the Preds that this is front loaded. Gets the money out of the way now allowing more money available later when they are a more competitive team

      • somekat - Jul 19, 2012 at 4:26 PM

        not at all. They are paying most of the money now when they aren’t a competetive team. How is that better? His cap hit will be the same in year 1 as year 10, so that doesn’t matter. The frontload forces them to pay him 25 mil in 12 months, which is probably most of, if not all of their profits

      • lorddarkhelmet - Jul 23, 2012 at 1:44 PM

        As far under the cap as they are, if this is all of their profits they have much larger problems.

  2. lostpuppysyndrome - Jul 19, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    I’m guessing Bettman wants Poile to win on this one. Wouldn’t be surprised if he makes a personal call to Weber to stay…

    • lonespeed - Jul 19, 2012 at 12:26 PM

      Yea, that’s how it works.

      • lostpuppysyndrome - Jul 19, 2012 at 12:49 PM

        Obviously I’m joking here. Still, what kind of effect would it have on the Nashville fanbase if they lost two of the better, if not the best defensemen in the NHL? Rinne isn’t gonna carry them on his own.

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Jul 19, 2012 at 2:03 PM

      Meant personal call to Poile. Lots of thumbs down. Love it.

      • lonespeed - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:41 PM

        You might want to just stop.

      • lostpuppysyndrome - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:48 PM

        In all seriousness, what did I say?

      • 28giroux28 - Jul 22, 2012 at 2:47 AM

        What did you say? Well, after bragging for weeks about your GM’s ability to get Parise and Suter you now show up and insinuate that Gary Bettman is a corrupt man who dictates the fate of all free agents.

        Double standard, no?

      • lostpuppysyndrome - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:04 PM

        No, actually I tried to make a joke about how southern teams tend to fail at filling seats, especially when a team hasn’t won a Cup within the past, oh, 2-3 years, and that while Nashville has been somewhat of an anomalous success, losing Weber will no doubt have an impact on attendance if he leaves. So, no, there is no double standard.

  3. lsxphotog - Jul 19, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    Rumor has it, this is the backlash of a trade deal gone south with Nashville. According to TSN, the teams were in talks on a trade, but they took too long so Holmgren said screw it and drew up an offer sheet to send…which was signed. haha Nobody’s fault but Nashville for not making this work and, if this is true, you shouldn’t shop your stars when you just lost your other defensive star.

  4. paperkid96 - Jul 19, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    This is a no win situation for Nashville. They might be better off taking 4 1st round picks. If they do match Weber is still pissed that he’s stuck in Nashville. He then turns into a Rick Nash and damages the team.

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Jul 19, 2012 at 12:52 PM

      Risk Nash hasn’t done anything to damage the team. Any damage done was because of Howson. Howson brought up the whole “Nash wants out” thing to the media. Nash was classy and professional by keeping things quiet, and still didn’t throw Howson under the bus when the news broke.

      • paperkid96 - Jul 19, 2012 at 8:48 PM

        Didn’t phrase that quite right. I agree that Nash has done his best given the situation his idiot GM has put him in. I do disagree that the tension in Columbus hasn’t hurt that team a bit. how could it not.

    • puckhead1966 - Jul 19, 2012 at 2:48 PM

      Weber knows there is a good chance Nashville matches the offer,so he must be OK with the idea he’ll spend the rest of his career in Tenn. If he isn’t OK with it, he wouldn’t have signed it knowing the possibility of him staying in Nashville. He could have waited for a one or two yr deal and then gone to UFA and pick the exact city he would wan’t to play in.

  5. lockdown27 - Jul 19, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    So I know if Nashville matches the offer they cannot trade Weber for one year. Does anyone know if they can still trade his rights to another team once an offer sheet has been signed? i.e. can Nashville now trade his rights to, let’s say, Det and let Det match Phi’s offer?

    • flyersphan28 - Jul 19, 2012 at 1:40 PM

      its either philly or nashville at this point…nash can still trade him, but only to philly because they sent the offer sheet and it was signed by weber. they can work a trade out, but it would actually be two seperate trades. nash would decline to match, and philly would send the draft picks in compensation. then philly nd nash would get together nd put a package together probably of a top 6 forward, top 4 D man, couple prospects and couple picks in exchange for the 4 picks philly sent to nash in compensation… its more of a gentlemans aggreement type of deal

      • dclogicatlast - Jul 19, 2012 at 4:54 PM

        I dont see 4 players and 2 draft picks being a deal. No possible way this turns into a 6 for 1 deal unless Nashville wants a lot of garbage.

  6. mojosmagic - Jul 19, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    Holmgren should be running the Mafia.

  7. puckhead1966 - Jul 19, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    I wonder if the PA will be pointing to this deal and ask, you really don’t need that roll back do you? How will Philly make it under the cap if you roll it back to 52 million? Also is the PA telling its members to sign contracts and not worry about any roll back or to factor it into any decisions about term?

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Jul 19, 2012 at 4:01 PM

      Only 8 teams are currently under the $52mil mark for 2012-13. How the owners expect to get under that mark with a demand like that is anyone’s guess. I mean, which owners agreed to this point, especially when the vast majority of them are over that mark? I’m curious to know what their game plan is.

  8. jrsaffell - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    Preds should just deal with it and take the pics. Package the 4 1st rounders to trade up higher the next 2 season, or go big this year.

    Take all this cap space and sign very long and very favorable extensions with as many of the guys you want to keep around as possible.

    This cold be a blessing in disguise.

    • jrsaffell - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:46 PM

      Mother of God, what is wrong with my keyboard.

    • jrsaffell - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:46 PM

      Mother of God, what is wrong with my keyboard?

      • puckhead1966 - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:54 PM

        It looks like its repeating itself.

      • williplett - Jul 19, 2012 at 5:16 PM

        Maybe it is a Preds fan itself that sees a dark future featuring nothing but Pekka Rinne and Paul Gaustad and it is trying to revolt against your recent comments.

  9. kicksave1980 - Jul 19, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    And this is why the owners are ridiculous. It’s pretty hard to go to the NHLPA and cry about escalating salaries when you have owners handing out $100+ million offer sheets.

    Owners don’t need to go to the NHLPA and force a possible work stoppage. They need to get some of their owners under control. I personally don’t have a problem with owners handing out absurd contracts, but you can’t have it both ways. The players (and fans) shouldn’t have to suffer constant CBA talks and threats when the it’s the owners that can’t protect themselves from each other.

    • ewyorksockexchange - Jul 21, 2012 at 12:53 PM

      Unfortunately, “getting some of their owners under control” is collusion and is illegal. They can’t get together and say “hey, don’t hand out these contracts because it’s bad for the league” unless they want to wind up in federal court facing anti-trust litigation.

  10. bobhpine - Jul 19, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    Who hasn’t Holmgren offered nine figures to? Maybe he can extend Jody Shelly or Chris Pronger while he’s at it. LOL

  11. jkaflagg - Jul 19, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    I’ve read that Poile and Holmgren are buds…..but if one of the Flyers young forwards reaches RFA one day, it will be interesting to see if Poile whips up a nasty offer to put Holmgren on the spot…..

    Of course, Brian Burke threatened to do the same to Kevin Lowe when Penner signed in Edmonton, but unfortunately no Oiler was worth any significant money in the last five years…..but it will be interesting to watch if Burke hangs around in Toronto and any of the Oilers young forwards get to RFA status in a few years, even though Lowe is no longer the GM…..

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