July 18 2012 11:14PM
Breaking: Shea Weber agrees to offer sheet with Philadelphia. 14 years, upwards of $100 mil. Preds have 7 days to match. Wow!!— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 19, 2012
Forget the one year offer-sheet lark, it was never going to happen, but this is the big one.
As reported by Darren Dreger, with uncharacteristic zeal (two exclamation points, and a wow at the end of the tweet), Shea Weber has signed a 14 year deal with the Philadelphia Flyers worth "upwards" of 100 million dollars...
Read past the jump.
As we wrote a few weeks ago, it looked to us like the Canucks were at a significant structural disadvantage in any hypothetical Shea Weber pursuit. If the perennial Norris Trophy candidate, and British Columbia native forced a trade out of Nashville, it appeared to us that the Canucks didn't have the assets to field a properly competitive offer. And anyway, there was no incentive for Weber to sign any type of one year deal this offseason.
With the lockout looming, and everything from contract term-limits, to number of years accrued up for discussion, it was clear that this summer was Shea Weber's big opportunity to "cash-in." That he has done so is appropriate, this is clearly the correct call for the most dominant single defenseman in the National Hockey League.
It's a ballsy move from Philadelphia, and the maneuver carries some risk. Depending on the average cap-hit of the deal, this should cost the Flyers four first round draft picks if Nashville decides to let Weber walk. That said, unless this is an absurdly front-loaded deal that pays Weber something like 40 million in the first three seasons of the deal, it's a no brainer and Nashville will match. Shea Weber is a singular talent, and while he's sure to be overpaid, he remains significantly more valuable than four late first round picks. Barring some sort of scorched earth campaign from Weber's camp, expect the Predators to match and Weber to remain in Nashville. Remember also, if Nashville matches they'll be unable to trade Shea Weber until July 26th, 2013.
Finally, prepare yourself for significant hand-wringing in the Vancouver sports media market: "why didn't you negotiate Weber's next contract with the Predators for Poile, huh, Mike Gillis?"