The Nashville Predators have matched the offer sheet for star defenseman Shea Weber, according to a press release from the team. In the most important hockey transaction in franchise history, Nashville Predators Chairman Tom Cigarran, President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile and CEO Jeff Cogen announced that the team has matched the 14-year, $110 million offer sheet between the Philadelphia Flyers and defenseman Shea Weber, insuring that the Predators’ captain will remain with the franchise for the next 14 years.
This does not come as a shock since teams always match offer sheets. Anyway you slice it the Preds were screwed. Either they lose Weber and Suter in the same offseason and alienate a fan base they have worked so hard to grow, or they have to mortgage the farm to pay Weber and cripple the team going forward.
I've heard some reports that the payment in the first year is $27 million and some say $14 million. Either way it's a lot of money for the Preds who had gate receipts totalled $30 million last season. They are already losing $7.5m per year. But give them credit, they weren't going to let a deep-pocketed team screw them - except they are screwed just the same.
On a side note the Flyers are in a bit of a pickle. They were counting on Weber replacing Chris Pronger who appears to be done. They missed out on Ryan Suter and let Matt Carle walk. Kimmo Timonen is now 37 and now their number 1 guy on defense. By default his partner will be Braydon Coburn. Neither of these two guys would be on a top pair of a true contender. Then there is the Flyers goaltending...