Shea Weber Offer Sheet: Low Risk, High Reward For Philadelphia Flyers
On Thursday morning around 8:30 a.m., EST, the Philadelphia Flyers released a statement through their public relation’s staff that said the following:
The Philadelphia Flyers have signed restricted free agent defenseman Shea Weber to an offer sheet. There will be no further comment at this time.
That’s because the move itself was a stronger statement than any collection of words ever could be.
In an aggressive move that has many praising the fortitude of general manager Paul Holmgren, the Flyers have taken the first step in potentially prying, arguably, the best defenseman in the NHL away from the Nashville Predators.
However, it’s important to realize that this is merely a first step in a dance that Nashville controls completely.
Because Weber is a restricted free agent, the Predators have the option of matching the offer sheet and if they do, Weber will have to play in Nashville for the extent of the contract he signed with the Flyers, which according to initial reports by TSN’s Darren Dreger, is somewhere in the range of 14-years and $100 million-plus.
The Predators will have seven days to decide if they want to match.
From the Nashville perspective, team general manager David Poile has stated in the past that he will match any offer sheet tendered to Weber.
To some, Philadelphia have made Poile’s job easy by creating a structure for a deal with Weber, leaving the team only having to match the Flyers offer and ride off into the sunset with their franchise defenseman.
However, it may not be so simple.
It is believed that the deal is potentially front-loaded to such an extent that Nashville may not be able to pay the real dollar amount promised to Weber in the initial years of the contract.
This would leave the team handcuffed in a situation where they could not match the Flyers offer. With the structure of the contract not yet made available, it is unknown if this is the case.
What is known is that Holmgren has made a demonstrative statement that ensures that the Weber situation will be resolved by this time next week with the 26-year old playing in Nashville or Philadelphia and no where else.
Due to rules in the collective bargaining agreement, Nashville would be unable to trade Weber if they were to match the sheet, which eliminates the possibility of matching the offer to trade him elsewhere out of spite.
With teams like the New York Rangers rumored to be in talks with Nashville to acquire Weber via trade prior to the offer sheet, the Flyers have eliminated one of their archrivals (and several other teams) from the running.
Ultimately, the move is a low-risk, high-reward from the Flyers perspective.
If Nashville matches, Weber is locked into the Western Conference for the next 14 years and the Flyers are able to move forward with their business plans without Weber in the back of their mind.
If Nashville doesn't match, then the Flyers give up what is assumed to be four first-round picks (depending on the contract offer), which would probably end up being closer to second round picks because of how good the team would be with Weber.
With the situation as fluid as it is, stay tuned to The Checking Line and it's affiliated social media sites for the latest news as it is made available.
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