SHOULD POILE MATCH?

Shea Weber is smiling knowing that he will make $110 million for the remainder of his NHL career. That’s some pretty sweet financial security for Weber, but I wonder what Preds’ GM David Poile is thinking right now?

Does he match or take four first-round picks?

Some of the initial response is that the Preds have to match and that this could be a significant turning point for the franchise.

They match and secure their cornerstone D-man for the next 11 years (he won’t play the final three years making only $1 million a year) and make it clear they won’t lose stars to big markets.

This isn’t just about money; it is about whether the Preds want to tell their fans they will compete. I don’t like this message, but that’s how it is, and every fan base not cheering for a major market team better hope the new CBA outlaws these types of deals in the next CBA.

That Flyers offer sheet appears legal under the existing CBA, and Weber will cash cheques from either Philadelphia or Nashville. Nick Kypreos reported that it pays $14 million per season for the first four years ($1 million in salary and a mind-blowing $13 million in signing bonus.)

That means Weber is due $27 million over the next twelve month, and the Flyers are hoping the small-market Preds aren’t financially willing to pay that, and instead they will settle for the four first rounders.

The remaining 10 years of the deal breakdown like this, according to Kypreos.

Years 5 and 6: $12 million/year
Years 7-10:      $6 million/year
Year 11:            $3 million
Years 12-14     $1 million/year

CAN THE PREDS MATCH

The first question Poile has to be asking himself is if Weber is worth a $7.86 million cap hit?

The 14-year, $110 million offer sheet from the Flyers won’t hurt the Preds cap wise, but the first six years of the deal are a huge blow to their internal budget.

Can the Predators afford to pay Weber $80 million for the first six years?

Only the owners can answer that.

But what about Weber’s worth as a player.

Ken Holland never hid the fact that Nick Lidstrom made his job as GM easier. On most nights he had the best player on the ice, and he was playing 25-27 minutes a night. Sure the Wings had loads of offensive talent, but the one constant for the past two decades was Lidstrom.

Weber is widely considered the best D-man in the game right now. He’s physical, he’s mean, he can run a PP, he produces points and he’ll play against the opposition’s best players.

Last year when he was making $7.5 million not one person said he was overvalued. ( I don’t say overpaid, because everyone making that much to play hockey is overpaid).

The 2012/2013 cap is currently at $70.2 million.

In 2012 the cap was $64.3 million.
In 2011 it was $59.4 million.
In 2010 it was $56.8 million.
In 2009 it was $56.7 million.

Weber isn’t in Lidstrom’s category, but he isn’t far off. Lidstrom had a much better offensive supporting cast during his tenure in Detroit than Weber has ever had in Nashville.

In 2009 and 2010 Lidstrom made $7.45 million, and he was 13.1% of the Wing’s cap. In 2011 he made $6.2 million, 10.4% of the cap and last year his $6.2 salary was 9.6% of the total cap.

Weber turns 27 in August and it safe to say he should have at least five or six year left of being an elite D-man.

His $7.86 cap hit will be 11.1% of this year’s cap. Not an awful % when you consider how much he plays.

The challenge for Poile and the Pred’s owners will be absorbing the large signing bonus. Do they have the money to pay him, and then will they have the money to surround him with some good offensive stars?

Currently the Preds are $14 million under the cap floor, so they will need to sign Weber and still add another $6.2 million to get to the floor for next year.

They have Pekka Rinne signed for next six years, and if they keep Weber they will have a guaranteed #1 D-man for the same time period, however, the Preds have never developed any legitimate skilled forwards. Signing Weber keeps them at status quo on the ice, but will his contract limit them from improving?

OPTIONS

  1. Walk away and take the four first rounders, which will likely be in the 22-30 range every year.
     
  2. Match it, tell your fans you will compete, and be willing to spend more to find some offensive players.
     
  3. Try to facilitate a trade with the Flyers in the next seven days. (This trade would officially occur after Weber was officially Philly property)

I think option 2 and 3 are their best bets. The four late first rounders won’t pay off for at least seven years, if ever.

If they try and deal with the Flyers, they might be able to get some pieces that help right away and a few future picks.

Keep in mind that Poile was the GM of the Washington Capitals in 1990 when the St. Louis Blues offered Scott Stevens a four-year deal worth a combined $5.1 million. The caps didn’t match the offer and settled for two first rounders, which could turn into five first rounders if the Caps didn’t have a top-seven pick in 1991 or 1992.

The Caps ended up with five first-rounders: Trevor Halverson (21st, 1991), Sergei Gonchar (14th, 1992), Brendan Witt (11th, 1993), Alexander Kharlamov (15th, 1994) and Mika Elomo (23rd, 1995). It is clear they didn’t win the deal, despite having five 1st round selections.

I don’t see how Poile walks away and takes the four first rounders. He will either trade with the Flyers or pay Weber.

Reports are the Preds were asking for Sean Couturier, Brayden Schenn and something else prior to the Flyers offer sheet. I doubt they get that deal now, but they might get Couturier and Voracek.

I’d keep Weber and hope your scouting staff can find some young forwards.

It’s a tough decision either way, but based on this comment I’m guessing the Preds best option will be a trade.

Weber’s agent Jarret Bousquet said this regarding the Flyers offer sheet,  "I don’t think you would sign an offer sheet unless you were hoping to go to that team."

  • BrudnySeaby

    2010-11:
    Shea weber without Suter.
    10 Games played -9 in plus/minus.

    Weber has played 6459 min in last 5 yesars.

    285 min (4.4%)was a collection of lesser players who played less than 15 minutes a season with him.

    He played 5154 Min (80%) with Suter and was a positive player.

    The other 15.6%

    He played 370 Min (5.7%) with greg Zanon and was a negative player.

    He played 318 min (4.9%) with Boullion and was a negative player

    He played 201 minutes with Hamhuis(3.1%) and was a negative player.

    He played 126 min (1.9%) and was a positive player.

    Webber was a negative player 88% of the time without Suter.

    That is with some historically good Dmen.

    This is what makes me nervous about a suterless weber.

  • Michael

    The same old ‘NHL’ inequality, the rich teams structuring deals (legally) to take advantage of the poorer teams. Likely, you take the four first rounder’s and walk away. I doubt they have the finances to match the offer. I don’t want to move JBO, but if the Preds are willing to send some picks our way for JBo, Feaster will likely take them up on it.

    It’s beginning to look a bit like the NBA, the superstars only want to play for a handfull of teams. Make’s we wonder how a team like Calgary is going to attract a free agent ‘star’ to eventually replace Iggy?

  • KleptoKlown

    Other then Voracek, what other RFA’s does Philly have. Ya gotta think that someone should put a offer sheet in on Voracek. That would make this highly entertaining…

  • Clyde Frog

    If the Predator’s can’t sign due to cashflow issues, I wonder if they would have a legal case that Philly used insider and confidential information in making this pitch.

    I always was confused by the amount of disclosure “competitors” were forced into, I imagine with the league revenues needing to be calculated, the amount of information disclosured would be very high.

    I do not know how this information is accessed or shared in the league, hence the question.

    But if the contract was structured based on information disclosed to the league to ensure Nashville is not in a cash position to match, well it would be fun to watch a lawsuit between ownership groups WHILE they try to negotiate with the NHLPA.

  • Reidja

    does this offersheet signing further drive home the need for Tambo to lock up Eberle and Hall to along term contract ASAP? this may by a golden opportunity to convince the yound studs that they should get something done before the new CBA is in place, as they don’t know how the landscape will look. I say Tambo should take this moment of uncertainty to lock the boys up for their entire 20s.

  • Oilers4ever

    The new CBA has to have the players yearly salary be their cap hit. For example, next year Weber makes 14 million and that would be his cap hit for the year. Of course the players won’t go for it because it eliminates these bogus contracts but the owners that sign guys to honest contracts have to make this happen. I don’t get the signing bonus bs either as it clearly is meant to screw over Nashville so they should probably set some sort of limit there also.

    • SmellOfVictory

      Doesn’t even need that. They just have to stipulate that any contract that includes a player’s years beyond the age of 35 will remain as a cap hit on the team even if the player does retire. Or they could even make it half the cap hit. Point being, there would no longer be throwaway years on contracts, but they could still frontload if they wanted to pay out a player rightnow.

  • Shapeman

    Can you highlight how/where the NHL is increasing revenue so quickly? TV? Ticket sales? Merchandise? That’s an impressive growth during a economic downturn. I know people say it’s Canadian teams, but it can’t be them alone.

  • vetinari

    Weber signing the offer sheet is a nice **** you to the Preds. Otherwise he would work with the team rather than back it into a corner.

    Next he will ask for a trade after the first year of the deal.

  • I’d match it for sure, provided ownership will put up the money. Tough spot for them, if Weber goes the team will be a shadow of its former self, which will decrease attendance and cost the group a ton of cash. They are screwed either way.
    You’d have to think there would be locker room issues because it seems obvious that Weber wants out. Can’t trade him for a year, so 1 year of Weber is mighty pricey.