Looking back on last week, the Philadelphia Flyers did the Nashville Predators a favor by signing Shea Weber to an offer sheet. By deciding to match the 14-year, $110 million offer, the Preds get Weber at a very attractive salary cap number and lock up the most important player in franchise history until his 40th birthday.
Weber has become one of the top five players in the NHL. His presence in Nashville, coupled with Pekka Rinne in goal, makes the Predators an attractive destination for free agents.
Yes, the first few payments will be a little high. Philly GM Paul Holmgren and his staff nearly pulled off a major coups by signing Weber to an offer sheet with a very low base salary with a very high bonus. With the potential for salary rollbacks in the ongoing labor discussions, the bonus is a number that cannot be rolled back. In 2005-06, the first season after the lockout, players accepted a 24% rollback in salaries. Guys that signed a $5 million annual contract were suddenly getting paid $3.8 million.
If there is another salary rollback, Weber wont be affected. The bonus money cant be touched.
Last night, the media received a press release from the Predators. It read:
In the most important hockey transaction in franchise history, Nashville Predators Chairman Tom Cigarran, President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile and CEO Jeff Cogen announced today that the team has matched the 14-year, $110 million offer sheet between the Philadelphia Flyers and defenseman Shea Weber, insuring that the Predators' captain will remain with the franchise for the next 14 years.
The decision to enter into the largest contract in franchise history was made by all parts of the organization, including ownership, hockey operations and business operations.
As the organization analyzed the overall situation and worked toward a conclusion, the decision boiled down to three questions:
- Was Shea Weber the individual that this franchise wanted to lead our team, a team that would compete for the Stanley Cup every year, for the next 14 years?
- Would matching the offer sheet be in the best long-term interest of the team and organization?
- Would a decision not to match the offer sheet send a negative message to current Predators players and other NHL organizations, a message that the Predators would only go so far to protect its best players and be pushed around by teams with "deep pockets?"
The answer to each of the above questions is clearly yes. The organization spent the last several days analyzing all aspects of the offer sheet, from economic implications to the impact on the team hockey operations puts on the ice.
Most importantly was the reaction to whatever decision the organization reached and the impact it would have on our fans, sponsors and marketing partners. We wanted to insure that our decision reflected not just the feelings of these groups but also conveys a strong message to them that our actions would speak for us and demonstrate our commitment to them. It was absolutely essential that they understand and believe that we are doing everything possible to ice a Stanley Cup competing team each and every season.
With this decision behind us, we continue to focus on our mission: Develop Bridgestone Arena into the number one sports and entertainment facility in North America with a Stanley Cup-winning Nashville Predators team as the centerpiece. With Shea Weber in the fold for the next 14 years, we are closer to this mission, and will continue to contend for the Stanley Cup on an annual basis.
If youre a fan of the Nashville Predators, that is a very exciting read.
Defenseman Jon Blum has been working out in Nashville this summer with Preds strength and conditioning coach David Good. Blum needs to have a good camp with Nashville or risk being placed on waivers. He would certainly be claimed by another team. Theres a lot of ability there.
It was nice to visit with defenseman Mike Moore on Milwaukee Admirals Center Ice Monday night. Moore has been praised by Worcester Sharks coach Roy Sommer as an excellent open-ice hitter. Moore has held a leadership role with nearly every team hes been a part of. While it wouldve been nice to keep Scott Ford, Moore should be a more than capable replacement.
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