Shea Weber Signs Offer Sheet

Posted: July 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

The hockey world was sent into a frenzy late Wednesday night when news broke that Nashville Predators’ D Shea Weber had agreed to a 14 year, $110 million offer sheet with the Philadelphia Flyers. As a restricted free agent, Weber was free to sign with whomever he wanted. However, Nashville GM Dave Poile will have one week to match the Flyers’ offer and keep the runner-up for the Norris Trophy in Predators’ gold for the rest of his career.

The move came as a shock to many. Nashville has been adamant all offseason that they would match any offer Weber received from teams. Had he not received any offers, Weber would have become an unrestricted free agent next July. There were reports late Wednesday from TSN’s Darren Dreger that the Flyers and Predators were discussing a trade that would have sent Weber’s rights to Philadelphia. But, numerous deadlines went by without a deal being consummated, and Flyers’ GM Paul Holmgren ultimately decided an offer sheet was the better option.

It has been reported that the Flyers structured the deal in a way that Nashville might have trouble matching. The Predators have a ton of cap space, but their ownership is not known for spending to the cap ceiling. As a small-market franchise, Nashville might not be able to afford the $26 million in signing bonuses that the Flyers structured into the deal. Under the current CBA rules, the Predators would need to pay Weber two lump-sum amounts of $13 million over the next 365 days if they match the deal. Whether or not Nashville feels comfortable spending that kind of money towards one player in one calendar year remains to be seen.

Should Nashville refuse to match the deal, Weber will become a member of the Flyers exactly a week from today. If they choose to match, he will remain a Predator and absorb the exact contract he signed with Philadelphia. Meanwhile, the Flyers will be forced to compensate Nashville with four first round draft choices. The Predators will also not be able to trade Weber until next year in this scenario.

Through all of this, only one thing is for sure. One of the premier free agents heading into next summer will now be off the market. Whether he remains in Nashville or takes his talents to Philadelphia remains to be seen.

 

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