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Predators Chairman’s bold statements will be put to the test

Jul 22, 2012, 5:15 PM EDT

Shea Weber #6 of the Nashville Predators battles for the puck with Claude Giroux #28 of the Philadelphia Flyers during the second period of an NHL hockey game at the Wells Fargo Center on February 3, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Flyers won 3-2.
(February 2, 2011 - Source: Paul Bereswill/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

This has been a trying summer for the Nashville Predators. They’ve already lost Ryan Suter and now they have to decide whether or not to match the Philadelphia Flyers’ massively frontloaded, 14-year, $110 million offer sheet with Shea Weber.

If they do so, they’ll have to pay Weber $52 million over the next four seasons alone. That’s a tough pill to swallow financially, but as Nate Rau of The Tennessean pointed out, Predators Chairman Tom Cigarran made some bold statements earlier this summer.

Cigarran claimed that the Predators’ budget would reach new highs and “we’re not going to lose players because of money.”

Cigarran also stated at the time that “the only way we’ll lose them is if there’s some chemistry issue, or their grandmother lives in Montreal or something, the intangibles. But they know we’re competitive, and they know we’re committed after this season, so we’re in a really good place.”

You could make a strong argument that the Predators ultimately lost Suter due to the intangibles. It would be harder to paint the same picture for Weber, seeing as keeping him is as simple as writing a check. That being said, it would be a very large check and one to a player that doesn’t want to go through another rebuilding process.

So maybe if the Predators decline to match the offer, they’ll claim that it was because of a potential “chemistry issue.” Still, this summer has certainly tested Cigarran’s earlier upbeat and bold statements.

  1. tru2joelu4eva - Jul 22, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    correct me if i’m wrong, but didn’t he also promise a stanley cup within three years?

    • tru2joelu4eva - Jul 22, 2012 at 6:18 PM

      you can dislike it all you want, it was an honest question, i swear i saw something on tv where he said that. anyway, since you all decided to go there, your franchise is f****ed. sucks for you….

      • predswilrule - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:10 AM

        ive never seen that. hes said we will bring a cup here but never by a certain time to my knowledge

  2. islandersfan - Jul 22, 2012 at 5:43 PM

    As much as it will hurt, let him go. The draft pick haul is immense and will help the rebuild (Losing weber will hurt bad still though)

    As much as I would want to keep him with the “not want to rebuild” comments he’s shown he would rather be somewhere else, and this likely is leftover from last years arbitration. Writing a check for that amount, to tie yourself to a player who doesn’t want to be there, in a summer that the CBA is being renegotiated and the financial landscape is about to change is a huge risk and I would say just give me the picks and best of luck to everyone.

    The only way I think about matching is if I sit with Weber face to face and am convinced he wants to be in Nashville. If that is the case it still hurts like hell. but I go ahead with it. If Weber is on the fence, or decided against being in Nashville I don’t take the chance with the term of this contract.

    • chibimike - Jul 22, 2012 at 8:01 PM

      Yeah, because 4 first round picks around number 25 is worth giving up one of the best defensemen in the league. If the Preds don’t match the offer, the franchise is dead, period. Who would buy tickets?

      • islandersfan - Jul 22, 2012 at 9:04 PM

        And if Nashville risks putting themselves in financial trouble because they wanted to give someone who (reportedly) doesn’t want to be there a ton of money for a 14 year contract who’d buy tickets then?

        Either way they are going to need to rebuild, rebuilding with people who want to be there is easier than people who don’t. Double so with the financial/CBA risks in this scenario.

        You’re right though, if it was simply about 4 first round picks for a Weber who wants to live and play in Nashville forever and no financial/cap issues to be worried about I’d be matching the offer sheet before even blinking.

        Problem is it isn’t that simple, if it was we wouldn’t be having a post or two about it on PHT a day :)

  3. sgtr0c - Jul 22, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    Homer also read those same quotes, and still made an offer. That is why we haven’t seen the Preds make their move yet, the contract would strangle them.

    The reason rfa’s don’t get offers, is not there is some gm gentlemans agreement, it is because they have to be worth it. The Philly paper quoted Homer as saying, “Weber was someone we targeted from the start”. The offer was calculated baised on all the news stories and what it would take.

    Just like with Gratton, the nhl will lean on the Flyers to give some players back. It prolly will not be a Coiuter or a Schenn.

  4. ray2013 - Jul 22, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    From all the reporting, seems like the Weber offer is two separate contracts:

    1) a four year, $52 million dollar contract
    2) a ten year $58 million dollar contract

    Weber is the best defenceman in the NHL (at least in everyone’s top 3). If the Preds match, they would be paying top dollar (avg. $13 million a year) to lock up the league’s top d-man in his prime. After that time, they’d have a still elite d-man locked up for the next ten years at a very reasonable, affordable amount.

    Since they have to spend money to get to the cap floor, I can’t see any reason why they shouldn’t match. If he’s not happy, so what? He knew the Preds could match when he signed the offer sheet. Now they have him locked in for two consecutive deals.

    If at some point in the next few years a team wants to trade for him, they’ll have to come with a real offer, not “here, take our leftovers we couldn’t fit into our core”.

    • flyersphaithful48 - Jul 22, 2012 at 7:06 PM

      Word is voracek and meszaros plus two picks is new trade…. Not leftovers if you ask me.

      • chibimike - Jul 22, 2012 at 7:57 PM

        Yes, they are leftovers. Especially when compared to Shea Weber.

      • flyersgoalscoredby88 - Jul 22, 2012 at 9:46 PM

        I still don’t understand why some team (Pittsburgh) isn’t offer sheeting Voracek right now to torpedo the Flyers’ ability to trade him to Nashville…unless of course someone is trying and Voracek is more comfortable playing in Nashville than the third team.

        Just speculation, but if I’m Pittsburgh I’m offer sheeting Jake bc either it hurts Philly’s ability to trade for Weber, or I get a winger for Crosby. Worst case scenario the Flyers gets Weber and keep Jake…which is already Pitt’s worst case scenario.

      • icdogg - Jul 22, 2012 at 11:35 PM

        It would be interesting if Pittsburgh offer-sheeted Voracek. On the other hand, it would be a way for the Flyers to get some picks back that they might lose in the Weber transaction if the Flyers didn’t match.

      • ray2013 - Jul 23, 2012 at 1:11 AM

        I agree with chibimike.

        Is Voracek and Mezaros and two low first rounders (at best) enough for Shea Weber? Given that Weber is already the best d-man in the league, and given most d-men hit their prime in their late 20s and early 30s, it can be argued that he will get better than he already is.

        I realize the Preds are not going to get full value in a return for Weber, but I do think that the Flyers should do better.

      • predswilrule - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:13 AM

        not near enough

    • predswilrule - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:13 AM

      my thoughts exactly

  5. mojosmagic - Jul 22, 2012 at 9:05 PM

    If one looks between the line Nashville was attempting to trade Weber before he signed the Flyers crazily front loaded offer sheet. Why would they sign him now and be responsible for 68M in the first 4 years of the deal with 27M due Weber in the 1st fiscal year? Why would they sign a guy who doesn’t really want to be there? It would basically bankrupt their franchise and inhibit them from making other needed improvements. Weber is a Flyer and it is only a matter of Nashville receiving back some fair compensation.

    • chibimike - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:08 AM

      27M is not due in the first fiscal year. The second signing bonus is due in the second fiscal year. It would not bankrupt the franchise as they planned to keep both Weber and Suter, so the money is there. Man flyers fans are way off base with reality here.

      • predswilrule - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:15 AM

        in the 1st calender year. thats next july 1

  6. chibimike - Jul 22, 2012 at 9:52 PM

    The reason they were trying to trade him is that they didn’t think they’d be able to sign Weber to a long term deal. Homer took care of it for them, all they have to do is match the offer and Weber plays out his career in Nashville.

    • icdogg - Jul 22, 2012 at 11:42 PM

      Can’t disagree with that, but given all that, why haven’t they matched yet if it is such an obvious thing to do?

      • chibimike - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:12 AM

        Because bonus 1 is due at signing, so why match until the last minute. Plus you always have to see if the Flyers will make a desperation offer that is too good to pass up.

  7. mojosmagic - Jul 22, 2012 at 10:12 PM

    I guess you didn’t read the post Chib or your woefully uninformed about the financial ramifications the Flyers offer do to a franchise like Nashville. Smart teams make contract offers to their players not the other way around! Got it?

    • chibimike - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:05 AM

      Blah blah blah. What ramifications? They already expected to be paying Weber at least $8M, and expected to retain Suter at what would have been around $7M. The money is there and budgeted. The $27M spent in 12 months means nothing. The second signing bonus is due in next fiscal year. Do you really think the Preds management cannot afford to pay Weber his entire salary at the beginning of the year, instead of spread out throughout the year?

    • predswilrule - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:16 AM

      wilson has the money.

  8. natlbnkilr - Jul 22, 2012 at 10:28 PM

    Look up W. Brett Wilson… not worried about financial ramifications if the Preds match the offer sheet for Weber. Got it??….

    • icdogg - Jul 22, 2012 at 11:51 PM

      There’s no question that if the Preds’ ownership is willing to use their personal resources to match an offer sheet, that they absolutely can do it. But clearly they had no intention of breaking the budget in the past. They could have made a deal with Weber for less last month before losing Suter. Would have cost them probably $10M a year for 10 years. They could not have thought that they could sign him for that much less!

  9. dkphilly1122 - Jul 23, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    Flyer’s fans aren’t way off base. You obviously are if you think the Preds can put 27 mill up within 364 days for one player. I don’t care how rich your one owner is. They’re a small market team, his contract in full would be worth 2/3’s the teams value last year at 193 mill. They pay him 13 mill signing bonus, 1 mill salary for this year, by July 1st 2013 he gets another 13 mill signing bonus, totalling 27 mill within 364 days. It’s heavily front loaded for a small market team to have a hard time affording it, regardless of how rich your owner is. He’s one part owner. As far as saying Vorachek and Mez are leftovers is hideous. You obviously didn’t watch either play. Mez was hurt in the middle to the end of the season and had back surgery, before that he’s a top 4 d man on basically any team. Vorachek is an amazing and YOUNG solid winger in the making. I hope if they do decide a trade that they somehow keep Vorachek cause him and G together are close to unstoppable, but i’d rather keep Schenn and Cootz because they are younger and have a higher ceiling if it came down to it. If a trade is made it will be a fair trade for all, especially considering Homer has Poile by the balls. You’ll get some good young NHL ready players back in the second deal so you’s aren’t in a rebuild, just a retool. Especially because I keep reading about the young stud d men you’s have moving up the ranks and are close if not NHL ready to fill in the holes.

    • ray2013 - Jul 23, 2012 at 3:49 PM

      dkphilly – I said that when fans propose deals, they throw in second or third level prospects, aka leftovers. Now leftovers is pejorative, and I admit that. So let’s use the term tiers.

      You’ve already noted yourself that Schenn and Cootz are younger and have higher ceilings, so they are top tier prospects/players for the Flyers. Mez and Voracheck might be fine players but at best they are second-tier players, particularly with Mez coming off back surgery. And you hope they can keep Vorachek.

      So your offer is a top-four d-man coming off back surgery and a 3rd tier prospect for the best shutdown d-man in the league. Not even close to fair value, imo.

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