One of the league’s top defensemen, restricted free agent Shea Weber, signed an incredible 14 year, $100+ M offer sheet with the Philadelphia Flyers. (EDIT: The contract is actually for a total value of $110M) The Nashville Predators have one week to decide on the future of their organization after having lost Ryan Suter less than 3 weeks ago.
The Predators have essentially 3 options: 1) Match the offer and keep their captain in Nashville; 2) Let him go to Philadelphia and accept the compensation of either 4 first round picks or 2 first round picks, a 2nd round pick and a 3rd round pick (most likely the former according to TSN) or 3) Work out a suitable trade with the Flyers before the one week deadline to match the offer.
If they allow Weber to leave, it would do serious harm to their franchise in the immediate future. Losing 2 of the game’s top 15 defenesmen in a single off-season would be crippling to any franchise, but I don’t know if Nashville has the resources to match the offer. Any picks that they would receive would most likely be late first rounders at best, and they aren’t going to get immediate help in that area.
What would a fair trade be for a player who is still entering his prime at age 26, and is considered by many to be the top all-around blueliner in the NHL? Names will be thrown around over the next few hours and days, but I think you would be hard-pressed to come up with a suitable trade, so it would be down to the compensatory picks.
I think Nashville has to match the offer sheet, and accept the long-term cap hit of over $7M. If they don’t what message does it send to their fans, their players, and other players they may be trying to recruit to the team in the future? It wouldn’t show much of a willingness to win.
Either way, Shea Weber is about to become a very wealthy man.