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Nashville Has To Retain Weber

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,

David Poile will wear a stern and disappointed face into the boardroom of his bosses at Predators Holdings LLC, and then he will tell them what everyone already knows.

“Either we compete. Or we die.”

“We just lost Ryan Suter, and got nothing back for him,” he’ll remind his owners. “Now, we have a chance to lock up the best defenceman in the game of hockey for the rest of his career.

“We’ve told our fans we’re going to compete for a Stanley Cup. We told them our offer for Suter was competitive. We told them we’ll match any offer on Shea Weber. If we don’t match this offer sheet, our rink will be empty, our franchise irrelevant. Nobody in this town will believe anything we tell them, ever again.”

It is that critical a week in the history of the Nashville Predators. Either they compete or they roll over and become the Columbus Blue Jackets. Worse. The New York Islanders.

There isn’t any “in between room” in this decision for a franchise that has always punched above its weight. They’re either in contention, or they’re out. No middle ground.

continued

added 1:40pm, from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,

The reality of being a small-market, small-revenue NHL franchise clubbed the Nashville Predators over the head in the wee hours of Thursday morning.

No matter how carefully you spend your money, how carefully and how smart you draft and develop players, build hope in your fan base for better days ahead, sooner or later one of the big boys is simply going to reach over and grab your lunch.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: shea+weber

Comments

Primis's avatar

I disagree with the idea there’s a “choice” here.

Either way, Shea Weber is gone.  That was decided once he signed that offer sheet.  All that’s really up in the air now is whether Weber goes now, to Philly.  Or in a year, after the Preds shop him around themselves and hope they can get a good return.

I don’t see any endgame with this that results in Weber staying long-term.  There just isn’t one.

Posted by Primis on 07/19/12 at 03:29 PM ET

Avatar

Even worse, Poile could take Spectors position at Sportsnet.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 07/19/12 at 03:35 PM ET

phillyphever's avatar

“It is that critical a week in the history of the Nashville Predators. Either they compete or they roll over and become the Columbus Blue Jackets. Worse. The New York Islanders.”

Nothing is worse than being the Blue Jackets. At least the Islanders have some hope. Columbus: they might as well just fold.

Posted by phillyphever on 07/19/12 at 03:40 PM ET

Da lil Guy's avatar

Just because he signed an offer doesn’t mean he’s not happy to stay in Nashville. Unless he says something to the contrary, it actually says the opposite - Weber knows Nashville can match the sheet, so he’s effectively saying he’s equally happy to play the rest of his career in Philadelphia or Nashville.

The real question on the other side is whether Nashville (a team that once traded Cody Franson as a sweetener to dump Matt Lombardi’s contract due to its own internal cash budget) can accept a deal that will pay Weber $56 million in the first 4 years, which likely includes an immediate signing bonus in the $10 million range.

Posted by Da lil Guy from Guelph, Ontario on 07/19/12 at 03:44 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

Posted by Primis on 07/19/12 at 01:29 PM ET

He may want out of Nashville, but I think that would be a coincidence. Signing this offer sheet is purely about money. Even if he loves Nashville and wants to be there forever, he has $100 million guaranteed slapped down in front of him. That alone is persuasive. Add into that the fact that signing this removes most of the risk of the CBA changes hurting his earning power due to the massive bonus he’ll receive, and the fact that it removes the injury risk that would’ve come with going to arbitration or signing a one-year deal as a bridge to UFA, and it’s even more persuasive.

I don’t want to sound like money is everything, but signing this offer sheet gives Weber more control and more options than he had before. Now he’s forced Nashville’s hand to pay him well and to keep him, all the while having given himself a great contingency of being filthy rich while playing on a really good club in the East. And maybe best of all for him, he’s eliminated the concern of being traded to a team he doesn’t have interest in playing for. This way, he at least has made a conscious decision that he would be happy in Philly if that’s what it comes to.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 07/19/12 at 04:38 PM ET

awould's avatar

“We just lost Ryan Suter, and got nothing back for him,”

It would be wise of Poile to never speak of that again, especially in front of his bosses.

Posted by awould on 07/19/12 at 07:22 PM ET

Avatar

Signing an offer sheet is all about money. If you want out of a place you don’t sign one because then you get stuck. That is a big reason why they are rare, a lot of times guys don’t sign them.

As for he can’t back because of sour mood, I remember Scott Stevens signing a sheet with the Blues after the 1994 season. The Devils matched and he has been with the organization since, including contract extensions.

Posted by Jkrdevil on 07/19/12 at 09:06 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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