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Dreger: Philadelphia Flyers go nuclear, sign Shea Weber to $100-plus million offer sheet

I wouldn’t believe it if it wasn’t TSN’s Darren Dreger reporting it:

Update:

Update #2: TSN is now confirming with a story as well.

Update #3:

Update #4: Oh, of course:

Update #5: Aaaaannnnddd….

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Mandingo's avatar

Why do so many people seem to think that Nashville matching this offer is a foregone conclusion?

They were shopping him. What point would there be, and what could they possibly stand to gain, by matching the offer sheet?

It doesn’t make any sense.

Scenario #1: Don’t match the offer sheet. Get 4 1st round picks and save $7+ million in cap space a year over 14 years.

Scenario #2: Match offer sheet. Spend $100 million on player for 14 years who obviously doesn’t want to play for you. Receive no draft picks. Ruin locker room and bankrupt team.

Why would Poile match this offer? Just out of spite?

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 07/19/12 at 12:17 PM ET

Mandingo's avatar

Oh, actually it sounds like the compensation here would be 2 1st rounders. My Bad.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 07/19/12 at 12:22 PM ET

DrewBehr's avatar

The way I see it… Weber is still a prick for what he did to Zetterberg and him landing in Philly would simply allow me to hate him even more as Pronger 2.0. Plus, it would make NSH less competetive, meaning one less team the Wings would need to worry about getting by.

That, or Nashville re-signs Weber (as I feel should happen), nothing changes, and he probably gets disgruntled after a few more years of not winning the Cup and demands a trade.

Regardless, the Wings need to make a move. I’m not under the belief that “the sky is falling” or that teams don’t want to play in Detroit anymore, but we still have holes to fill, money to spend and players to move.

Work your magic, Kenny.

Posted by DrewBehr from The Mitten on 07/19/12 at 12:24 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 07/19/12 at 09:17 AM ET

Bravo, Nathan. Bravo.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 07/19/12 at 12:26 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

It’s a four first-rounders deal.

The CBA states on offer sheets that for deals over 5 years, only the first 5 years are averaged for cap hit as far as compensation goes.

Essentially, any deal over $42M for an RFA will send 4 first-rounders the other way.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/19/12 at 12:49 PM ET

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They were shopping him.

Yeah, but they weren’t likely shopping him for a couple draft picks.

Oh, and they lost that other defenseman they had…can’t remember where he signed…and it would be a PR disaster to lose two of the better defensemen in the league and to have nothing but “hopefully these picks will work out in 5-7 years”.

Get 4 1st round picks and save $7+ million in cap space a year over 14 years.

A $7M cap hit would be 2 firsts, a second and third.  Is that what Shea Weber is worth?

Spend $100 million on player for 14 years who obviously doesn’t want to play for you. Receive no draft picks.

If he obviously didn’t want to play for Nashville he wouldn’t have signed the offer sheet.  Poile has publicly said he will match any offer sheet, so if you “obviously” don’t want to play for them, why would you sign an offer sheet knowing there is a very, very good chance that the result will be that you’re locked into a 14-year contract with Nashville.

Why would Poile match this offer?

To retain one of the best defensemen in the league.  To avoid a horrific PR situation.

Oh, and if you match the deal you can still trade him starting next off-season, and if he has a great year coupled with a relatively low cap hit, you’d definitely get more than a few measly draft picks for him.

Posted by Garth on 07/19/12 at 12:52 PM ET

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Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/19/12 at 10:49 AM ET

Thanks.

Even for four first rounders Poile pretty much HAS to match it.

Posted by Garth on 07/19/12 at 12:53 PM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

Wow, I guess it’s a good time to be a Flyers fan.  What Holmgren has done in light of the Pronger, Richards, and Carter situations has been nothing short of remarkable. 

I can’t think of many (if any) other GM"s in sports that could’ve put themselves in a position to tender an offer sheet like this in the time frame Holmgren has, all while remaining a top-tier franchise in the league.

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 07/19/12 at 12:54 PM ET

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I agree with your logic Garth and thanks for the clarification JJ. Good to see the first 5 years was put into the CBA or we’d have more 20 year contracts hitting RFAs to give 4th round compensation.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 07/19/12 at 01:03 PM ET

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Weber signing an offer sheet probably means that Nashville wasn’t offering enough money or years on the contract, not that Weber wants out. If Nashville matches, Weber gets the contract he wants and remains with Preds on the contract he wanted. It just costs more than Preds wanted to pay. The same as years ago when Rangers gave an offer sheet to Joe Sakic, Avs matched and they had success together.

The signing has nothing to do with Detroit or Holland other than they are not offering enough money to lure players.

As for the big contracts being given out in this free agency. The postings of surprise are surpising. Every free agencey has huge contracts and every year some people are surprised by the money. It happens almost every year. Don’t know how it will effect the bargaining agreement because the players seem to be doing pretty good in the current system. Everyone seems to be making money in the hockey business except the fans that have to pay the prices for tickets and merchandise lose.

Posted by Puckbubba from FL. on 07/19/12 at 01:16 PM ET

Mandingo's avatar

Posted by Garth on 07/19/12 at 10:52 AM ET

I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

I just don’t see Poile matching the offer sheet, though.

A couple points:

Sounds like it is 4 first rounders (I was right, then wrong, then right again smile

Even if they match and trade him the next year, I believe they’re still on the hook for however the deal with Philly was structured (which is rumored to pay Weber $26 million in year 1). I could be wrong about this, but Nashville would have to match any signing bonuses too, right?

Is $26 million worth retaining his services for one year just so you can trade him? In other words, is the discrepancy between 4 first-rounders and his actual market trade value more than roughly $18–19 million? (His actual year 1 salary minus his actual cap hit)

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 07/19/12 at 01:20 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Another point of clarification:

The salary maximum rule of 20% of a cap hit is meant for real-world dollars as well.  It’s absolutely impossible for a team to structure a contract where a player makes more than $14M in a single year right now.

It’s possible the deal calls for $26M in signing bonuses over the first two years, but that only changes when the money is paid, not how much.  If Weber’s salary is $14M and his signing bonus for that year is $12M, it just means he gets $12M up front and then is paid the other $2M as the season goes on.

It does raise an interesting question about spreading out $26M in bonuses over 2 years, as teams could wait until after a certain period of time to make sure the Preds had to pay most of Weber’s salary up front before trading him in year 2.

All that means though is that the Preds would likely have to wait two years to trade Weber if they didn’t want him instead of one.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/19/12 at 01:35 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I blame Dreger for this.

He did ask if the Preds can flip over $26M in one calendar year, but he was being a bit coy with the wording.

It essentially means paying him no more than $14M right now and then having to pay him the other half of that signing bonus on July 1st next year.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/19/12 at 01:38 PM ET

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Is $26 million worth retaining his services for one year just so you can trade him?

I think it depends when he’s traded.  Bonuses are usually triggered on a certain day, so if they trade him on June 30th than whoever they trade him to would be on the hook.

Of course, there’s no reason to believe that they won’t keep him if they match it.

Losing a Norris finalist heading into his prime coupled with the PR hit that would following losing Suter for nothing and then Weber for some likely-to-be late-round first rounders pretty much dictates that he Poile has to match it.

Posted by Garth on 07/19/12 at 01:44 PM ET

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First off there is no way in hell the Preds don’t match this offer.  Poile probably loves the Flyers right now because they made it easy to keep Weber.  Secondly will everyone (including Daren Drager, he should know better) quit saying the Preds will get 4 1st round picks.  Under the current CBA you only get 4 1st round picks if the yearly cap hit averages out to be $7.8 But it’s all irrelavant because Nashville is going to match.

Posted by James from Portola Valley on 07/19/12 at 01:49 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Secondly will everyone (including Daren Drager, he should know better) quit saying the Preds will get 4 1st round picks.  Under the current CBA you only get 4 1st round picks if the yearly cap hit averages out to be $7.8 But it’s all irrelavant because Nashville is going to match.

You are wrong, here is why:

http://www.pensionplanpuppets.com/2012/6/26/3117738/2012-13-NHL-Restricted-Free-Agencyrfa-compensation-table-offer-sheets

  10.4 Draft Choice Compensation for Restricted Free Agents

  Any Club that is entitled to but does not exercise its Right of First Refusal pursuant to Section 10.3 shall be entitled to obtain Draft Choice Compensation from the New Club. The number and quality of draft choices due to the Prior Club shall be based on the average annual value of the compensation contained in the Principal Terms (as defined in Section 10.3(e) hereof) of the New Club’s Offer Sheet (determined by dividing such compensation by the lesser of the number of years of the Offer Sheet or five)

Please spread the correct info.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/19/12 at 01:53 PM ET

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These may have been answered farther up the chain but a couple things:

First, how does this work out for Nashville? Weber chose to sign the offer sheet meaning he wants to leave Nashville anyway, regardless of pay. If Nashville matches (which they probably have to do), they will have an unhappy #1 defenseman for 14 years? Will there be a no trade clause? This just seems super confusing on the surface.

He wanted out, Philly gave him the (albeit rare) option. So Poile signs him knowing he’s disgruntled? Why not just let him go?

Second, it sounds like they were trying to trade him anyway. Detroit, Philly, and some others were in the running (internet rumors).

Maybe they don’t match…possible 4 1st round picks is pretty tempting and you go through a few rebuilding years to draft quality players.

Posted by Alex from San Francisco on 07/19/12 at 01:56 PM ET

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Weber chose to sign the offer sheet meaning he wants to leave Nashville anyway, regardless of pay.

No it doesn’t.  Weber is probably not retarded, so he must have known when he signed it that there was a chance he would be playing in Nashville for 14 years.

If he wanted out he wouldn’t sign a 14 year deal, he’d have waited out a trade.

Maybe they don’t match…possible 4 1st round picks is pretty tempting and you go through a few rebuilding years to draft quality players.

Versus continuing to build around one of the best defensemen in the league?  That’s not very tempting to me…

Posted by Garth on 07/19/12 at 01:59 PM ET

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If he wanted out he wouldn’t sign a 14 year deal, he’d have waited out a trade

Maybe he didn’t think they would trade him in time (unlike Nash, he’s an RFA). I could see Poile pulling a Howson and waiting until he got the best possible package (and he’d obviously wait to get a killer one).

Versus continuing to build around one of the best defensemen in the league?  That’s not very tempting to me…

Agreed but if this defenseman has decided he’s through with Nashville? It’s not like he’s already signed an extension (i.e. Nash) and has regrets

Posted by Alex from San Francisco on 07/19/12 at 02:03 PM ET

awould's avatar

I think Weber signed the offer sheet to take advantage of the huge long-term contract while he still can. The next CBA is very likely to have more constraints on the amount and term of player contracts, not to mention the signing bonus. How annoying must it have been for Weber to watch Suter getting a huge payday while thinking that when his UFA time comes, the new CBA would effectively screw him out of that type of money.

I think Nashville has to sign him and I think they will. They have the cap space this year. If it works out long-term, great. If not, they can trade him. Everyone knows Weber was going to sign for top dollar. And he has. So nothing has changed… except that now Weber is locked in long-term at a known cap hit. Weber is more valuable as a trade asset now than he would be without this contract because any team trading for current RFA Weber would still have to worry about signing him with no guarantees. Also, any trade partner for an $8MM cap hit (or whatever) is likely going to have to make some cap space, which makes it more likely they’ll get some quality players in return.

The 4 first rounders do nothing to help the team today or in the next 4-5 years, and that’s made even worse by the likelihood that they’ll be very low first round picks. Yes, they’re tradeable assets, but that gets convoluted and, again, their value is diminished because Philly’s picks will be low ones.

So, Nashville matches it and signs Weber. Then trades Weber within the next two years and gets a small windfall in return. Weber is happy with his paycheck and crossing his fingers on who Nashville deals him to. Hopefully it’s either the Red Wings if the deal makes sense or the Islanders who don’t know how to run a hockey team and will always suck, even with Weber.

And yes, this off-season sucks badly.

Posted by awould on 07/19/12 at 02:05 PM ET

Mandingo's avatar

If he wanted out he wouldn’t sign a 14 year deal, he’d have waited out a trade.

Posted by Garth on 07/19/12 at 11:59 AM ET

Good point.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 07/19/12 at 02:06 PM ET

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Agreed but if this defenseman has decided he’s through with Nashville?

But he hasn’t.  Poile has been adamant that he will match any offer sheet for Weber, so you have to know, when signing a 14-year deal that there’s at LEAST a very good chance that Poile matches it.

If he decided he was through with Nashville he wouldn’t have signed an offer sheet, he would’ve just waited for a trade, in which case he is guaranteed to be in a different jersey the coming season rather than the very good chance that he will spend the 14 years in Nashville.

He signed the offer sheet because it was an offer sheet worth $110 million dollars, guaranteeing him $68 million over the first six years no matter what happens with the new CBA.

Clearly he wanted a longterm deal worth a lot of money and he doesn’t care if it comes from Philly or Nashville.

Posted by Garth on 07/19/12 at 02:08 PM ET

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@Garth

Makes sense. That guaranteed money is crazy. Wonder if Nashville can actually afford it?

Posted by Alex from San Francisco on 07/19/12 at 02:12 PM ET

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I could see Poile pulling a Howson and waiting until he got the best possible package

True, but teams would be falling over themselve to make this deal.

Unlike with Nash you’ve got an RFA and you can negotiate your own deal rather than having to be saddled with a higher cap hit than you’re comfortable with.

Posted by Garth on 07/19/12 at 02:13 PM ET

awould's avatar

Unlike with Nash you’ve got an RFA and you can negotiate your own deal rather than having to be saddled with a higher cap hit than you’re comfortable with.

Posted by Garth on 07/19/12 at 12:13 PM ET

The problem with trading for RFA is you take the risk that he’ll go UFA anyways and then you’ve effectively traded good assets to rent a player for a season.

Posted by awould on 07/19/12 at 02:16 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I think Weber signed the offer sheet to take advantage of the huge long-term contract while he still can. The next CBA is very likely to have more constraints on the amount and term of player contracts, not to mention the signing bonus. How annoying must it have been for Weber to watch Suter getting a huge payday while thinking that when his UFA time comes, the new CBA would effectively screw him out of that type of money.

I think this is a very strong argument.

Weber knew there was a chance of Nashville matching, so signing the offer sheet doesn’t necessarily mean he wanted out so much as he wanted paid.  There’s a decent chance that this time next year, there will not be a way for Weber to make bank like this sheet is going to give him.

I guess we’ll see whether Nashville tries to trade him if they match and wait for that option to come available as to whether Weber truly wanted out.  All I can really say is that making $110M is very likely the strongest motivator at play for Weber here.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/19/12 at 02:17 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

meanwhile, when I check the Philly roster, I see, if Nashville doesn’t match and they sign Weber, they will have 12 defensemen under contract ??

Posted by MoreShoot on 07/19/12 at 02:19 PM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

Posted by MoreShoot on 07/19/12 at 12:19 PM ET

Hm, I’ve got 8 (including Weber) via cap geek:
http://capgeek.com/charts.php?Team=24&salary;_cap=$70,200,000

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 07/19/12 at 02:37 PM ET

WingsFaninCO's avatar

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 07/19/12 at 09:17 AM ET

Hooray, reason! 

Also: Hooray, beer!

Posted by WingsFaninCO on 07/19/12 at 03:01 PM ET

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I can’t help but think that team would have to be Pittsburgh, who have plenty of assets. ” If we can’t trade for him, he’s not going to Pittsburgh”

Posted by jayskate from Newfoundland, Canada on 07/19/12 at 09:59 AM ET

Was wondering this. What did Nashville just lose? Franchise defensemen. How do you replace those on Nashville’s budget? Draft blue-chip D prospects and hope one of them develops into something special. Who’s got the most blue-chip prospects on D? Pittsburgh has twice as many of those as any other team.

So this is a smart move by Holmgren for a number of reasons. I also think it has an outside chance of breaking owner solidarity at the CBA negotiating table.

Posted by larry from pitt on 07/19/12 at 03:27 PM ET

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If the Flyers can get this done, they will stash contracts with the phantoms.

Posted by FlyersFan on 07/19/12 at 03:42 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

Wow, I guess it’s a good time to be a Flyers fan.  What Holmgren has done in light of the Pronger, Richards, and Carter situations has been nothing short of remarkable.

I can’t think of many (if any) other GM"s in sports that could’ve put themselves in a position to tender an offer sheet like this in the time frame Holmgren has, all while remaining a top-tier franchise in the league.

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 07/19/12 at 10:54 AM ET

Holmgren is good, but the thing is, he’s kind of forced himself into bad spots where he has to do crazy things to keep the team competitive. I also wouldn’t call the Flyers a top-tier team when they haven’t won a Cup in my lifetime.

On the topic of why Weber would sign this, I think it’s a no-brainer. It’s not about liking Philly or wanting out of Nashville. It has everything to do with THE CONTRACT IS MASSIVE and sets him up for life regardless of the risk of CBA changes or injury. If the CBA goes wacky, he knows he’s at least getting that big-time bonus money in full. If the CBA weren’t an issue at all, he’s getting $100 million guaranteed and thus has way more security and insurance against injury than he would if he went to arbitration and got a one year deal (or signed a one-year deal otherwise) just to get to UFA.

I don’t think it is a given Nashville matches this. They are stuck between a rock and a hard place. The uncertainty in the CBA has to hit the smaller teams more than it does the teams with the cash because things like revenue sharing and making the playoffs are so critical to their bottom line. If they don’t match, they alienate a small but good, loyal fanbase that has done just enough to sustain them, and that could send them into a Coyotes/Thrashers-style meltdown. If they do match, they have to hope the CBA comes out in their favor with some big revenue sharing enhancements, and maybe even some rollbacks from the players’ existing contracts.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 07/19/12 at 04:21 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

If the Flyers can get this done, they will stash contracts with the phantoms.

Posted by FlyersFan on 07/19/12 at 01:42 PM ET

I’m assuming you mean sending some players down to ditch their cap hits, even though they will still have to play them.

And I would gather that this will be something that will not be allowed next season, whenever it starts. This is one point where there will be a coalition consisting of most of the players and a large group of owners that will be in agreement.

NHL caliber players aren’t going to want to be blacklisted from the league because some GM made a mistake and paid them too much. A guy like Wade Redden was massively overpaid, but he was still a legitimate full-time #5 or 6 D at the NHL level. I would expect the players would like some change to the rule that forces a buyout if you want to escape the full cap hit. And I’d also expect there to be clubs with strong management tired of seeing bad GMs get away with their stupid mistakes this way.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 07/19/12 at 04:28 PM ET

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Darren Dreger said that Nashville made $26-million in ticket revenue last season. #Flyers offered him that for one calender year. ..

This is why they won’t match but i dont think they settle for just the picks.. i believe in the end the preds will end up with voracek and either meszaros or bourdon and 2 of the 1st round picks after a trade is worked out

Posted by paul22 from phila., pa on 07/20/12 at 10:05 PM ET

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