If Shea Weber wanted out of Nashville, you would never have known it from the sound of his voice on Wednesday afternoon. The Predators captain participated in a conference call with the media after Nashville matched the 14-year, $110 million offer sheet from the Philadelphia Flyers.
“It’s a good feeling. It’s where I started,” Weber said of Nashville. “They gave me the chance from the beginning. It would be really exciting to win in this city. The fans are very passionate. It is a good hockey city. I can’t wait to get the season going.
“They are not backing down. You know it is a situation where a lot of people doubted them. They said from the beginning if there was an offer sheet, they would match it. They were challenged, and they stepped up. That’s exactly what we were looking for.”
Weber dismissed the notion that he would have rather played for the Flyers when the puck drops on the 2012-13 season.
“It’s the business side of it. We utilized the CBA the best way we could while it is the way it is. It worked out great. I love it in Nashville. The team stepped up.” Weber explained, adding “I’m excited. It is a very exciting time for the Predators organization and myself. It is a big step in the right direction. Ownership showed a commitment in the last week.”
The current collective bargaining agreement expires in September. The NHL and the NHLPA are currently holding meetings to negotiate a new CBA. In the initial proposal submitted by the NHL, contracts would be limited to 5-year terms and signing bonuses would be eliminated.
Weber’s contract includes a $13 million signing bonus in each of the first four years of the 14 year contract, with an $8 million signing bonus each of the following two seasons.
The 26-year old also addressed comments made by one of Weber’s agents, Jarrett Bousquet, who suggested that the all-star defenseman would rather play in Philadelphia.
“I guess that was his business side, his feelings. I wasn’t a part of any of that,” Weber said. “I didn’t make any statements publicly. I love the city of Nashville. I love the fans. I love my teammates. It is a very positive thing that the ownership has stepped up and shown they are going to be a team that is going to spend to the cap, and bring guys in and be a successful team.
“I’m comfortable staying here for the rest of my career. We made that clear to the organization where we are trying to get a no-movement clause. We are committed to staying there.”
Head Coach Barry Trotz also participated in the conference call. Trotz reiterated that Weber wants to win and locking the Canadian Olympian into a long-term contract sends the same message to the entire NHL.
“This is the biggest signing in franchise history, Trotz said, adding “The signing sends a huge message not only to our team, but the rest of the League that we are serious about contending every year and we have the team to do that. He is going to be a big part of us going forward and getting the talent that we need, making our team better with one goal in mind –the Stanley Cup.”
Trotz said he was excited about next year’s team, but acknowledged that if a top-four defenseman became available, the Predators would be in the mix. If training camp started today, Roman Josi would get the call to be Weber’s new defense partner.