Found July 20, 2012 on The Predatorial:
Photo Credit: Like many of you, I received something of a rude awakening, yesterday morning.  Good or bad, checking the previous night’s happenings in the Twitterverse has become a fixture of my morning routine.  Typically, there’s nothing of any real substance to pay attention to–after all, as many a mother is fond of saying, “nothing good happens after 2 AM.”  Being Joe Nine-to-Five, that old adage has been adapted to “nothing SHOULD happen after 11 PM.”  So, like most mornings, I popped open my Twitter app on my phone, expecting the usual minutia. What greeted me instead was a shock, indeed: “Philadelphia Flyers sign Shea Weber to 14 year Offer Sheet.”  What came next was a surge of varied emotions.  I’m not certain why “stunned” was the first one to boil to the top, since Paul Holmgren and the Philadelphia Flyers are no strangers to this sort of bold move, and they have openly coveted Shea Weber for some time.  It’s just that, despite the legality, offer sheets typically don’t happen.  Every summer, some shiny, glamorous RFA takes his time coming to terms with his team, and fans clamor for an offer sheet.  We saw it last summer with Stamkos and Doughty, and so it was no surprise that the possibilities of some team going this route with prized defenseman Shea Weber were the object of much speculation. After getting past the initial shock, the next emotion in my progression was a sort of elation: after all, this wasn’t the one-year-bridge-to-UFA offer sheet I had feared. This was a deal that the Predators could easily match, essentially assuaging all of our fears.  With Poile’s boastful assurances that “any offer sheet will be matched,” the Flyers had done the work for us, and engendered the means to make Shea Weber a lifetime Predator. For most of the morning, that was the prevailing attitude composing the collective tweeting of Predators fans.  Even as Nick Kypreos leaked a deal structure that was formidable, and would certainly cause Nashville ownership a fair bit of indigestion to cough up, no one was deterred.  National media asserted their doubts that traditionally cash-poor Nashville would have difficulty matching such a heavily front-loaded deal, but knowing the fiery “we don’t take no guff” personality of key players such as Tom Cigarran and Herb Fritch, Predators fans were confident they would find a way.  We strapped in, and prepared for a nailbiting period of waiting for the inevitable announcement from GMDP that the offersheet had been matched. Then, agents Kevin Epp and Jarrett Bousquet started giving interviews. Suddenly, the entire idea that our confidence was built on– “above all, Shea Weber wants to stay, but wants to get paid” — went out the window.  Instead, when asked directly “Do you hope that Nashville doesn’t match? Does Shea Weber want to play for the Flyers?”, Weber’s agents more or less affirmed both questions.  Darren Dreger’s announcement that upon hearing of the pending OS, Poile and Holmgren spent Wednesday trying to work out a trade seemed to lend itself to that idea.  If Weber, through his agent, had told Poile that he no longer wanted to play here, it could have set off GMDP’s desperation to get a trade done and return immediate assets, rather than the woefully inadequate return of 4 bottom-10 first round picks.  The alternative would be to match the offer sheet, retain a potentially disgruntled player for the mandatory year before he became tradeable, and–oh–pay 28 million dollars for the privilege of a lame duck defenseman.  The upside would be that without a NTC or NMC in the deal, you could open the trade market to 29 other teams, and the return would likely be astronomical.  But no trade is going to return a Shea Weber.  This wasn’t really a favorable course of action.  Once again, it looks like the Predators franchise is in a bit of a no-win situation.  You can walk away from the offer sheet, take the 4 picks in compensation, and hope to parlay at least some of them into players that can contribute immediately–or you can match and retain the best defenseman in the league.  Both outcomes are attached to a pretty negative caveat.  If you walk away and take the picks, there’s very little chance that you’re going to bring another top 5 player in the league in return, and you once-showpiece defense–already weakened by 50 percent in recent weaks–takes another devastating gutpunch.  Additionally, you send a very bad message to a fragile fanbas. If you match the offer, you run the risk of bringing back a player that doesn’t want to be on the team. So, what to do? That question will be difficult to answer for David Poile and crew, but also hard to fathom for the fans.  The inevitable fingerpointing has already begun.  Some will BLAME POILE\OWNERSHIP for not putting together a good enough team, not spending enough money, not cultivating an environment that the players believe in.  Certainly, there have been signs that this may be the case.  Suter’s “demands” for more activity were likely the impetus behind Poile’s unusually busy trade deadline.  Steve Sullivan recently told “NHL Home Ice,” when asked about Suter’s decision to depart for Minnesota, “I don’t know that there’s necessarily a lot of belief that they can win in Nashville.”  Ownership pledged to make resources available to make Nashville a “cap team” over the last season, but was it too little, too late?  Certainly, losing Suter caught Poile blindsided, but was there not a viable backup plan in place?  Weber’s comments, proxied through his agent, that he “didn’t want to go through another rebuild” certainly hints that Poile’s replacement for Suter was looking to be a not-yet-ready Roman Josi.  And remember that this team had high hopes last spring, but ultimately wasn’t good enough.  Status quo– keeping Suter, Weber, Radulov, Kostitsyn–wasn’t going to be enough, unless you were hoping the stars aligned differently.  This was a team that needed even more, likely another true top six forward– but instead, lost three of those four components, and added only a backup goaltender.  Why should Weber have been confident that the result would be better, with the only improvement to the team being “young players getting a year older?”  Now, the market was in a situation that there was a dearth of top six forwards, but it’s not something that should have necessitated a quick fix.  This is the result of years of the same issues plaguing the team, and only band-aid fixes being applied.  True that Poile made a run at Parise, but with the thrifty reputation the Predators have generated for themselves, the appeal simply wasn’t there.  Would that have been different if the Predators had been bigger players for some of the “name” forwards that were available in free agency over the past years? Hossa? Kovalchuk? Richards?  I’m not saying that it was feasible to land a player of that magnitude, just trying to rationalize why the sudden “we’re going to spend!” declarations are likely being met with skepticism–especially when there’s still quite a bit of spending required to even get to the salary floor, let alone the promised “cap.” So, there’s ammunition for the “BLAME POILE\MANAGEMENT” crowd.  If we could simply stop there, if we could assign only villain to this story, life would be much easier.  However, as is always the case in the rollercoaster life of a Nashville Predators fan, there’s always more to consider. With the yeoman work that David Poile has done thus far, the sad “well, we tried” defeats in landing not only Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, but Phil Kessel a couple of seasons back, it’s easy to see him as the good guy here.  He’s done more with less than any GM in the league, and certainly deserves credit for that.  In the face of hopeless adversity, he always pulls strings together in a magical way, creating the most unlikely tapestry of relative success in the NHL.  So we’re encouraged and excited to see what he could do, given the resources to compete with bigger markets in the free agent pool.  With names like Getzlaf and Perry poised to hit free agency next summer, he should be well positioned, if he can get through the next season.  So that leads us to the BLAME WEBER crowd, and their associated philosophy. No slap leaves quite the mark like a beloved fan-favorite indicating his preference is to play elsewhere.  This is a player that carries the responsibility and honor of the “captain” title.  After all we’ve been through, all of the disappointments, all of the close-calls–it finally seemed that things were beginning to turn for the Predators.  For the first time, Nashville went into the postseason as a legitimate contender for the Stanley Cup.  While it didn’t work out, the future should be bright.  The Predators still have one of the best goaltenders in the league.  There are a number of promising players both in the system and ready to play now.  Most of all, Poile has been assured that the money will be available to land “big fish” players, should they become available.  But none of this is possible without Weber.  If he would just stay, have a little bit more faith, there’s still time to right the ship after the loss of Suter.  So, is it greed? Frustration with the lack of glory\recognition, playing in a small market like Nashville?  How could someone that’s been the posterchild for the Preds, the face of the franchise, suddenly quit on them?  Maybe Weber’s character–long thought to be one of his most prominent virtues–doesn’t feature loyalty as strongly as we thought? And what else could Poile have done to appease Weber?  He offered comparable money to Suter to what he eventually got from Minnesota.  He attempted to sign Parise. He attempted to trade for Rick Nash and Jeff Carter.  These efforts fell short for reasons beyond his control, but he was still able to land the top rental forward at the deadline, the top defensive center, and the top defenseman–and then re-sign two of them.  He wooed the enigmatic-but-dynamic Alex Radulov back to Nashville–previously thought impossible.  It’s impossible to argue that Poile has not made the effort.  Yet it’s apparently not enough. So, now that you’ve seen both sides– where do you stand?  For me, there’s no blame to be assigned, or maybe it’s a matter of equal blame to be assigned.  I write both sides of the debate based on my own logic, my own emotions. I genuinely feel those things, and I’m left with pieces of a puzzle that I can’t seem to put together.  The end result looks to be unfavorable, no matter what. Perhaps I’m wrong though.  I don’t profess to know Shea Weber personally, but he has certainly always exuded an air of professionalism.  If he’s the consummate pro that he appears, then he’ll return to the Predators and pick back up where he left off.  While his agent’s comments are troubling, perhaps there was a disconnect or some misrepresentation.  While Bousquet did a little bit of backpedaling when speaking to James Cybulski, stating that he “didn’t foresee a problem” if the Predators did the unthinkable and matched, I’ll quote my good friend and contemporary JR Lind: “It’s difficult to put toothpaste back in the tube.” I don’t think there will be an issue with teammates or coaches, if Weber returns. These guys know it’s a business, and they typically understand this sort of thing.  I just hope that a bridge that’s currently embroiled in flames doesn’t burn out completely, when it comes to Poile, Weber, and our tenuous fanbase. -JN

Today in the Nation: July 19th, 2012

Links to all Preds Related material for 7/19/12… Predators’ Weber signs 14-year offer sheet with Flyers Shea Weber signed to $100M offer sheet Bombshell: Flyers make offer to Weber; will Nashville match?

Preds issue statement regarding Flyers offer sheet to Weber

Nashville, Tenn. (July 19, 2012) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile issued the following statement this morning:“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...

AP Source: Flyers give Weber 14-year offer sheet

A person with knowledge of the decision says the Philadelphia Flyers have signed Nashville star defenseman Shea Weber to a 14-year offer sheet worth more than $100 million. The Sports Network in Canada first reported the offer. The person spoke to The Associated Press on Thursday on condition of anonymity because the Flyers hadn't announced the offer. Flyers general manager...

This Sucks: Weber Signs Offer Sheet With Flyers

As you've probably already heard, the Flyers signed noted head-basher Shea Weber to an offer sheet: The Philadelphia Flyers and Nashville Predators star defenseman Shea Weber have agreed to a 14-year offer sheet "upwards of $100 million," giving Nashville GM David Poile a week to match the contract terms. The news was first reported by TSN's Darren Dreger. Now...

Shea Weber offer sheet broken down, KK hockey version

I posted this in the wrong blog, so, for those of you who follow KK hockey: According to TSN, the Philadelphia Flyers’ offer sheet to Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber defines the term “front-loaded”: The Philadelphia Flyers have signed defenceman Shea Weber to a 14-year offer sheet worth a total of of $110 million. The deal includes $68 million in bonus money in...

Predators can't afford to lose Weber

Its the worst nightmare of any owner or general manager losing two of your best players in a span of weeks without much, if anything, in return. Thats the dilemma the Nashville Predators are confronting with the news that their captain, restricted free agent Shea Weber, has signed an offer sheet from the Philadelphia Flyers reportedly in the amount of 110 million over 14 years...

Shea Weber agrees to fourteen year offer sheet deal from Flyers

Under the cover of night is about the time one would expect an offer sheet deal to go down. No one likes to discuss offer sheets in the NHL. They're often seen as poaching players, tempting them away from their rightful teams. General managers tend to stay away from them because it "paints them in a bad light," despite the fact that it's a perfectly legal and fine...

Flyers sign Shea Weber to 14-year Offer Sheet

                Late last night the Philadelphia Flyers forced the hands of the Nashville Predators by signing restricted free agent Shea Weber to a 14-year $100 million offer sheet. The signing means the Predators now have 7 days to match the offer if they hope to keep the services of Weber, who finished with 19 goals and 30 assists last season, his 2nd straight as a first...

Nashville Has To Retain Weber

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet, David Poile will wear a stern and disappointed face into the boardroom of his bosses at Predators Holdings LLC, and then he will tell them what everyone already knows. “Either we compete. Or we die.” “We just lost Ryan Suter, and got nothing back for him,” he’ll remind his owners. “Now, we have a chance to lock up the best defenceman...

What Will Nashville Do?

from Darren Dreger of TSN, By virtue of signing a 14-year, $110 million dollar offer sheet with the Philadelphia Flyers, restricted free agent Shea Weber has made it clear he wants out of Nashville…. Now the Predators are faced with a huge financial gamble. With the threat of a work stoppage looming, Weber will collect a minimum of $26 million in the next 11 months. That’s...

Rangers Were Involved In Shea Weber Talks

We've speculated on the blog that Shea Weber could be a fit for the Rangers, and apparently Glen Sather felt the same way. Per Katie Strang of ESPN New York, the Rangers were very involved in Shea Weber discussions and he had gone so far as to visit New York and talk to management and coaches. However, while Weber was impressed with the organization, he apparently felt that New...

Shea Weber's possible Nashville departure could cap off an off-season of gifts for the Blues

Take heart, Blues fans having a panic attack over whether or not the Blues' UFA/RFA dealings have been sufficient. The Central Division won't be the same next year... call it some fortuitous addition by subtraction for the Blues. Shea Weber signed a 14 year ginormous offer sheet from the Philadelphia Flyers last night, and if the Nashville Predators can't/won't match...

Reports: Weber signs offer with Philly

The Nashville Predators already lost Ryan Suter in free agency. Shea Weber could be next, having signed a 14-year, $100 million offer sheet with Philadelphia, according to multiple reports.

The Shea Weber Negotiations: Holmgren vs. Poile

Courtesy of Mike Strasinger/AP By Charlie O’Connor (@THG_Charlie) Let the staring contest commence. With an offer sheet for Shea Weber now on the table, Philadelphia Flyers GM Paul Holmgren and Nashville Predators GM David Poile are locked in a game of chicken, with one player’s contract, the immediate future of one franchise, and the long-term health of another franchise all...
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