Shea Weber Signs Offer Sheet with Flyers, Dashes Canucks Fan’s Dreams

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?"

  • BrudnySeaby

    Can’t help but wonder whether Weber’s heart jumped when he saw the NHL’s opening offer to the NHLPA. Philly was hovering anyway, and he just thought he’d be done with it?

    It’s weird that the Preds just can’t find a way to negotiate with their top stars. I guess we got luckier with the Sedins than we realize. Granted the cap was a lot lower then.

  • BrudnySeaby

    This looked to me like a huge favour to the Preds. Money and term are not out-of-line with what they were prepared to pay Suter, and they’ve essentially got a forced commitment from Weber, so even if he wants to leave, they won’t lose him for nothing like they might have had he become unrestricted. The sticking point is that it’s been reported to be $26 million in year 1, and $68 million over the first 6 years, which include signing bonuses in years 1, 4, 5, and 6 (so presumably a lot of that money will not be subject to any salary rollback). Those are steep numbers to be sure, but I still have to think that the Preds match.

  • BrudnySeaby

    @ Rob: agreed. The bonuses are big, big numbers to cough up ($26m, yikes!) but for a cap hit of 7.8m a year they can (re)sign one of the best defensemen, which incidentally is not that much more than they paid him last season.

    Another reason to do so for Nashville would be: “who else do we have and get to sign!?”. If they don’t sign Weber, Hal Gil is their top experienced defenseman with a total of 4 defensemen signed. Oops.

    Who else are they going to get and for what money? In the current market they could easily end up paying $4-$5m a year for far less talented players! So just from that perspective they would be wise to sign Weber. And seeing that Weber probably wants out of Nashville, at least you have another year (and with a new CBA in place) to work on acquiring defensemen!