David Poile faced a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” decision this week regarding Shea Weber and whether or not to match Philadelphia’s 14 year, $110M offer sheet.
Poile finally came to the conclusion, as most expected he would, that losing two of the best defensemen in the league in a single calendar month would blow the franchise back to expansion times. Despite not being a large market team, Nashville matched Weber’s offer with a big-market contract that they are locked into for the next 14 years. Weber is a top-5 defenseman in the league and if any blueliner “deserves” such a contract it is Weber. However, it is probably going to be the last contract of its kind in the NHL.
Poile had to match, despite now having to write $80M in cheques to Weber over the first 6 years of the deal. At least they are getting him long-term as he enters what should be his prime, and not after the fact. The Predators probably can’t afford the contract, but neither could they afford to let him go, both in terms of compensation (who knows what the 4 projected late first round picks would bring) and reputation for being a possible landing spot for other free agents as the Preds try to build a contender.
He was damned if he did, and damned if he didn’t match, but in the end, matching was the lesser of two evils. It is now up to Weber to walk into that dressing room as the captain of the club and show his teammates that he is still a Predator at heart and the rest was just business.