The Nashville Predators must match the Philadelphia Flyers' offer sheet for superstar defenseman Shea Weber.
According to ESPN.com, Weber, who is a restricted free agent, has agreed to and signed an offer sheet worth 14 years, $110 million with the Flyers. The Predators have a week to match Philadelphia's offer.
Weber's offer sheet from the Flyers includes a full no-movement clause. Also, in the first four years of the contract when he'll earn $14 million per year -- $13 million per year is designated as a signing bonus, with an additional $1 million in salary - via ESPN.com
Weber is a key piece to Nashville's franchise, though, and the Predators would be outright foolish to not do everything in their financial power to match the offer and make Weber a Predator for life.
Let's see why.
Youth and Potential
Weber is only 26 years old, and a 14-year contract would keep him around for awhile. With seven years of NHL experience under his belt, Weber brings the perfect combination to the table for Nashville as a tone-setting defenseman with a high ceiling.
Weber has stayed healthy as well, which makes him a promising resigning for the Predators. Weber has played in at least 78 games per season over the last four years and has a 6'4", 234-pound frame that makes him almost impossible to shake up.
Filling a Need
All-Star defenseman Ryan Suter has already left Nashville for the Minnesota Wild this offseason, and losing Weber would only make matters incredibly worse for the Predators defensively. Weber can't completely cover up for Suter's departure, but he can continue to be the lynch pin for Nashville defensively.
Weber is also a superb power-play scorer for the Predators; he scored 10 of his 19 goals last season on the power play. Weber fills plenty of needs for Nashville, and there would be multiple voids left in the Predators rotation if he were to wind up in Philadelphia.
There is no denying that Shea Weber is an NHL superstar and one of if not the most recognized players on the Predators roster. It would send a terrible message to the fans to let such a star get away in free agency.
Weber can sell jerseys, help win games and be the face of the franchise for the next decade or so. Every team needs its star representative, and Nashville is in a risky situation with Weber and the current offer out for his services. The Predators must match or give up any shot at remaining competitive in the coming years.
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