NHL Free Agency 2012: Reasons Predators Won't Match Flyers' Offer for Shea Weber
So much for that quiet offseason we'd all been having.
Since Weber is a restricted free agent, his current team, the Nashville Predators, have the right to match the offer sheet and retain Weber.
Weber is widely considered the heart and soul of the Predators, as well as one of the best defenseman in the league, but there is no guarantee they will match.
In fact, there are several good reasons why they won't.
The Draft Picks
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Restricted free agents usually stay with their team, not only because that team can match any offer to them but because they're much more costly than the unrestricted variety.
Restricted free agents require their new team to send back draft picks as compensation to their former team.
Shea Weber's contract is reported to be over $100 million for fourteen years, which probably will put him in the highest tier of restricted free agency.
That would send four first round picks to Nashville from the Philadelphia Flyers if the Predators choose not to match.
Four first round picks is a lot, especially for a team like Nashville that prides itself on it's scouting department and building through the draft.
Shea Weber was a second round pick, so there's no question that Nashville could find a star among four first round picks.
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As mentioned in the previous slide, Shea Weber's new contract is probably worth over $100 million.
That's a lot of money, particularly for a small market team like Nashville.
Nashville just lot their second best star defenseman to a monster contract this offseason when Ryan Suter signed with the Minnesota Wild, so the team is going to experience a bit of a regression this year.
Weber's contract, due to the new CBA discussions trying to lower salary cap numbers and it's length, will probably be very front loaded.
That's going to be a tough sell on the owners.
Paying a guy a ton of up front money on a team that probably can't be a Stanley cup team the next one or two seasons doesn't make a ton of sense for the Predators, especially when after that they're tied to a guy for ten plus years after his peak years.
The Contract Length
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The 14 years in itself could be a sticking point for the Predators, regardless of how the salary is divided.
14 years of a high cap hit can cripple a team's salary cap, that's why the owners want the new CBA to limit contracts to five years.
Unfortunately for teams right now, star players like Weber are going to get whatever they want in a contract.
That means that he will get the security he wants of knowing he can be employed in the NHL until he's 40.
This isn't a great contract for a team trying to be responsible with the cap, but that's something the Flyers are pretty familiar with.
The Predators are a big more apt to plan for the long term, and this contract could make that difficult.
Weber Wants to Leave
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Shea Weber signed this contract with the Flyers instead of agreeing to one with the Predators.
If he wanted to stay and the Predators planned to match, why not just tell them what he wanted and resign?
Probably because he's ready to move on since Ryan Suter, his defensive partner and friend, has moved on without him.
It's hard to know why Weber would want to leave, but possible reasons could include wanting to play in a bigger market, wanting a contract too expensive for Nashville's liking, wanting to play for a team with a better immediate chance to win, or just a change of scenery.
Regardless, it seems like he is ready to part ways with the team he captains.
If that's the case, the Predators would be best suited to take the draft picks as opposed to keeping around an unhappy superstar.