WeberWatch 2012: Updates and ObservationsBREAKING NEWS, Flyers, News, NHL Friday, July 20th, 2012
Thursday was an incredibly long day for Flyers fans as information continued to trickle in of how Shea Weber came to sign a fourteen-year, $110 million offer sheet with the Philadelphia Flyers and what it means for them and the Nashville Predators.
There has been a lot of information to process, but here goes nothing.
- Shea Weber is represented by Titan Sports agents Kevin Epps and Jarrett Bousquet, who have each spoken with members of the media on how this process started and why he ultimately chose Philadelphia. The best interview can be found here, courtesy of Cybulski & Company of TSN Radio 1050, with Bousquet answering questions.
- “I think what happened was, you know, the market place changed on July 4 there. You know, the other contract for Shea’s old defense partner reset the market. When that happened, we saw thirteen year deals coming, fourteen year deals coming which Shea was able to sign under the Kovalchuk rule… we all sat down and looked at the different options and thought, you know, if there is a fourteen year contract coming down the pipe at some point, we need to be ready for it and we need to know that you want to play there for the next fourteen years.” In other words, Suter’s signing was the first domino and Weber’s agents wanted him to be proactive.
- “When things changed in Nashville, we felt that everything was set back a year or two and it looked to be more of a rebuilding situation…” This statement is going to be difficult to swallow for the Predators organization. With all due respect to Suter, losing him would not have sent the Predators into a rebuild; losing Weber would. Toss in the fact that general manager David Poile locked up goaltender Pekka Rinne and made moves to acquire Paul Gaustad, Hal Gill, Andrei Kostitsyn and Alexander Radulov last season, there’s no logic to suggest they are or would be in a rebuild mode.
- “I don’t think you sign an offer sheet unless you’re pointing in one direction… he’d like to play for the Philadelphia Flyers because we all feel he’s just another piece in the puzzle to take them to the next level…” Contrary to a comment I made yesterday morning, it seems less and less likely that he will retire as a Predator, even if Nashville matches the offer. In that scenario, they would not be allowed to trade him for at least one year, but the deal astonishingly does not contain a no-trade or no-move clause, according to Sarah Baicker of CSNPhilly. There’s nothing to prevent him from demanding a trade at a later date…
- … unless John Shannon of Sportsnet’s report is true. Which is that offer sheets aren’t allowed to have no trade clauses, but “an amendment has been discussed with the [Flyers].”
- Greg Sullivan of the Tennessean confirmed that Weber had also visited San Jose, New York and Detroit over the last two weeks.
- Larry Brooks of the New York Post reported that while Rangers general manager Glen Sather was also prepared to make him an offer sheet, Weber ultimately declined. “Their efforts failed because of Weber’s aversion to living in Manhattan, where nearly all of the Rangers lived, and of his belief that living in Westchester would have isolated him from his teammates.”
- Frank Seravalli of the Daily News reported that Weber met with the Flyers organization “weeks ago” and toured the facilities. While Ed Snider and his vault of money make for an impressive sales pitch, Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer also reported that Kevin Epps said he was “pretty certain” that Weber has spoken with Scott Hartnell. Both players are currently involved with the CBA meetings for the NHLPA.
- The Philadelphia Flyers’ official statement: “The Flyers have signed restricted free agent (D) Shea Weber to an offer sheet. There will be no further comment at this time.”
- The Nashville Predators’ official statement: “We are in receipt of the offer sheet signed between the Philadelphia Flyers and Shea Weber. Under the rules pertaining to an offer sheet, the Predators have one week to decide whether to match or accept the compensation. We have stated previously that, should a team enter into an offer sheet with Shea, our intention (editor’s note- major change of wording here) would be to match and retain Shea. Our ownership has provided us with the necessary resources to build a Stanley Cup-winning team. Due to the complexity of the offer sheet, we will take the appropriate time to review and evaluate it and ll of its ramifications in order to make the best decision for the Predators in both the short and long-term. We do not anticipate any further comments on this situation until we make our decision within the next seven days.”
- The deadline for the Predators to match in 11:30 p.m., next Wednesday. Darren Dreger of TSN commented this morning, however, “I suspect decision has been made.”
- Consider this to be Paul Holmgren’s swan song to the Collective Bargaining Agreement of 2005 to 2012. It is a masterpiece of loopholes, completely flying in the face of the intent of the CBA while absolutely conforming to it. It is structured purposefully to not only reduce the salary cap hit for Weber’s services to $7.85 million per year, but pay him $68 million over the first six years to make Nashville, a small market team, think twice about matching it. On top of that, the bulk of the money is in signing bonuses, meaning that even if the NHLPA accepts salary roll backs in the next CBA, Weber is guaranteed to get paid the majority of it. This information came courtesy of Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet.
- The offer sheet route is, in fact, a brilliant move from Holmgren simply because of how he structured it. He did try to acquire Weber through a trade first, but according to Dreger, Poile refused to ask for less than Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier and something else. Holmgren grew impatient with the incredulity of that request and just bypassed the whole process.
- That doesn’t mean that the Flyers still won’t end up making a trade with the Predators; they just have more leverage. As Flyers Faithful have pointed out, this situation is exactly what happened in 1997, when the Flyers signed Tampa Bay Lightning Chris Gratton to an offer sheet and later traded Mikael Renberg and Karl Dykhuis for picks. Holmgren can, and in all likelihood will, trade players back to Nashville. Jake Voracek, Braydon Coburn and a prospect like Marc-Andre Bourdon along with two first round draft picks would be more than fair (if not an overpayment) for Weber in the end.
- The Flyers will be hosting the NHL Draft in 2014. Don’t be surprised if, in this scenario they try to reacquire their first round pick for that year.
- Tyler Altemose of The Hockey Guys has explained what would occur if Nashville matched the Flyers’ offer, but was unable to eventually make payments.
- Dave Isaac also spoke with Bousquet, who suggested as much. He reported via twitter that Bousquet stated, “They have to look at the financial side but the philosophical side as well. We could have a shortened season, maybe it doesn’t line up with their thought process. I don’t know what they’re thinking. I don’t know their ownership group as well as some others.”
- Dustin Leed of The Hockey Guys also put the finances in question. Following up on a tweet from Darren Dreger of TSN, Leed stated, “…Nashville made $26 million in ticket revenue last season. Flyers offered him that for one calendar year. Philadelphia made $52-million in ticket revenue last REGULAR season.”
- As has been suggested by many, this move all but signals that defenseman Chris Pronger will not be coming back. Even though the Prongers sold their house and moved back to St. Louis, there was always an outside chance that he could return.
It is going to be a long seven days if Nashville drags this out.
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