Originally posted on Fang Faction  |  Last updated 7/24/12

The Nashville Predators ownership have given David Poile the okay to match the Philadelphia Flyers' offer-sheet given to Shea Weber. Poile did so and have locked Weber up to a 14-year $110 million contract.

Read the press release from the Nashville Predators after the jump.

Nashville, Tenn. (July 24, 2012) – 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.

Cigarran, Poile and Cogen will be available for a media conference tomorrow at 1 p.m. CT on the Bridgestone Arena concourse to discuss the organization's decision.

There will be no further comment from the Predators until Wednesday's media conference.

Here is how the Shea Weber contract will look, per CapGeek.ca:

Season Salary Signing Bonus Cap Hit 2012-13 $14,000,000 $13,000,000 $7,857,143 2013-14 $14,000,000  $13,000,000 $7,857,143 2014-15 $14,000,000 $13,000,000 $7,857,143 2015-16 $14,000,000 $13,000,000 $7,857,143 2016-17 $12,000,000 $8,000,000 $7,857,143 2017-18 $12,000,000 $8,000,000 $7,857,143 2018-19 $6,000,000 $0 $7,857,143 2019-20 $6,000,000 $0 $7,857,143 2020-21 $6,000,000 $0 $7,857,143 2021-22 $6,000,000 $0 $7,857,143 2022-23 $3,000,000 $0 $7,857,143 2023-24 $1,000,000 $0 $7,857,143 2024-25 $1,000,000 $0 $7,857,143 2025-26 $1,000,000 $0 $7,857,143

This contract is obviously a very front loaded contract. There are many people saying that the Predators will end up getting rid of Shea Weber because it is too much money. Well, I think that statement is stupid. Yes, and I will use the word "stupid".

If the Nashville Predators' ownership group has given the team the go sign to match the offer-sheet, they have the money to keep him. If they can keep Weber for the next four years, they will surely keep him for the next ten years because the money is lower. 

In signing Shea Weber, Colin Wilson and Sergei Kostitsyn Tuesday, the Predators are only $488,690 away from hitting the cap floor. That money will most likely be spent on re-signing Jonathan Blum.

The organization Tuesday have "walked the walk" -- Ryan Porth, Smashville 24/7. Tom Cigarran, chairman of the team has said that they will provide the money for Poile to match any offer sheet thrown Weber's way. Cigarran lived up to his word. So, the organization can not only talk the talk, they can walk the walk.

With the matching of this offer sheet, it allows the Predators to still be a relevant franchise in the NHL. If they decided to not match the offer sheet, most likely, fans would be calling out David Poile to be fired and in doing so, calling out Barry Trotz to be fired. Also, ticket sales would plummet. Luckily, it hasn't had to come to that.

Philadelphia Flyers fans are very disappointed to what has occurred. Paul Holmgren made an admirable aggressive move to give Weber an offer sheet. Now, in retaliation to rushing Poile to matching the offer sheet, he should give Flyers' RFA forward, Jakub Voracek an offer sheet. No matter what happens, it can't be a negative to the Preds' organization. They should definitely go for it.

Pekka Rinne is now rejoicing wherever he is. He knew he was going to be left out to dry if the Preds weren't able to re-sign Weber. If Weber wasn't re-signed, I would think Rinne would demand a trade and not be left out to dry most, if not all season.

This is a great day for Predators fans. The Nashville Predators are welcoming all fans to go to Bridgestone Arena Wednesday at 1 PM CT to talk about the Weber re-signing.

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