Shea Weber Offer Sheet: Why the Nashville Predators Must Let Him Go

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Shea Weber Offer Sheet: Why the Nashville Predators Must Let Him Go
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TSN's Darren Dreger first announced that the Philadelphia Flyers had signed superstar defenseman Shea Weber to an offer sheet worth a reported $110 million over the next 14 years:

The contract is heavily front-loaded and would make Weber the second-richest player in the NHL behind Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals.

The deal is not set in stone, however. The Nashville Predators have seven calendar days to decide whether or not they will match the offer or let him go to Philly.

Shea Weber is the biggest name to potentially go to the Flyers since Eric Lindros played the waiting game in 1992 between the Flyers and the Rangers...and we all remember how that turned out.

From Nashville's perspective, while it might be hard to imagine—especially after a solid performance last year that took the team to the second round the playoffs—it has to realize that it is time to let him go a few years earlier than they had anticipated. 

In 2011, the Predators signed goaltender Pekka Rinne to a seven-year contract worth $49 million. That was the largest contract in Nashville's history. To think that they have the market and the coin to cough up over $100 million is honestly hard to fathom.

The Flyers seem to be "New York Yankeeing" the Predators here, even though the NHL's salary cap structure is designed to allow no such thing to happen.

What should the Nashville Predators do?

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If you take a look at the Preds' offseason, the first thing that comes to mind is that they lost star defenseman Ryan Suter to the Minnesota Wild—and to an absurd contract at that, as Suter will be paid $98 million over the next 13 years.

There is no debating that Shea Weber is entitled to more money than former teammate Ryan Suter. He is the face of the Predators, is their team captain and is simply stronger on both ends of the ice.

According to NewsChannel5.com, Nashville plans on matching the offer sheet laid out by Philadelphia. But I honestly believe that it would be a mistake.

Sure, re-signing the man I just ranked as the third-best defenseman in the NHL sounds like something the Predators need to do. But looking at what they would be receiving in return, they need to let him go.

The fact of the matter is, while they have a superstar goaltender in Rinne, the Predators are far away from becoming a team that will contend for the Stanley Cup. They lack scoring, and they already lost their fifth-leading scorer from last season in Suter.

They had an impressive run by defeating the Detroit Red Wings in the first round of the playoffs, but then were immediately sent packing in five games by the Phoenix Coyotes in the next round.

Re-signing Weber would obviously help the team as a whole. But it would still only potentially make them a bottom-seeded team fighting simply to make the playoffs in the Western Conference.

If they let Shea Weber go to the Flyers, they could be awarded with four first-round draft picks over the next four seasons, according to NewsChannel5.com. While the Flyers will be expected to excel with Weber, and those picks will more than likely be toward the bottom end of the round, I don't think Nashville is in a position to pass that up.

As hard as it would be to see for Predators fans and anti-Flyers fans like myself, the Nashville Predators must give up Shea Weber to the Philadelphia Flyers, accept the four draft picks in return and begin to rephase themselves into a championship team.

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