Last week, the Philadelphia Flyers sent shockwaves through the hockey world when they sent a 14-year, $110 million offer to Shea Weber -- who promptly accepted the offer. The Flyers hoped that the structure of the contract, which guarantees Weber nearly $68 million in the first five years and $26 million over the next calendar year, would be too much for the Predators to match.
The Predators, however, stated all along they'd match any offer sheet for Shea Weber. It was said that this was the defining moment for the franchise, that if the fans were supposed to stay behind this team they needed to show the desire to keep the best player in franchise history instead of letting him get away -- even if that meant acquiring four first-round picks.
Today, the team announced they had matched the massive offer sheet.
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.
The Predators still have the ability to trade Weber next summer, but he'll be on the team for at least this next season. Weber has said publicly that he'll play just as hard for the Predators as he would have for the Flyers.
Good move, or merely delaying the inevitable for Nashville and Weber.