Shea Weber and Shattered Dreams
You can’t blame Canucks fans for obsessing over the possibility of Shea Weber coming to Vancouver. Besides being from BC and still holding strong ties here, he’s a legitimate no. 1 defenseman and a Norris Trophy candidate – basically, a defenseman the kind of which the Canucks have never had.
As an RFA this season and a UFA next season, Nashville’s options were limited. Presumably, the Predators had been trying to re-sign him, but from the looks of things, Weber didn’t seem too interested. He was free to sign an offer sheet with a team he liked, and if the Predators didn’t match, they would receive draft picks as compensation, hardly a suitable return for a player of his ilk. And if the offer sheet were for a one-year term, and if the Predators did match, they couldn’t trade him for the next year and Weber could walk away for nothing at the end of it. Like Dan Hamhuis did a couple of years ago and Ryan Suter did this year.
So I’m sure David Poile wasn’t pleased with last night’s bombshell the Philadelphia Flyers had signed him to a 14-year/$110 million offer sheet:
Breaking: Shea Weber agrees to offer sheet with Philadelphia. 14 years, upwards of $100 mil. Preds have 7 days to match. Wow!!
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 19, 2012
— Nick Kypreos (@RealKyper) July 19, 2012
From Kyper, here’s the complete breakdown of the deal:
|Year||Salary||Signing Bonus||Total $||Cap Hit|
|Year 1||$1 mil||$13 mil||$14 mil||$7.857 mil|
|Year 2||$1 mil||$13 mil||$14 mil||$7.857 mil|
|Year 3||$1 mil||$13 mil||$14 mil||$7.857 mil|
|Year 4||$1 mil||$13 mil||$14 mil||$7.857 mil|
|Year 5||$4 mil||$8 mil||$12 mil||$7.857 mil|
|Year 6||$4 mil||$8 mil||$12 mil||$7.857 mil|
|Year 7||$6 mil||$0||$6 mil||$7.857 mil|
|Year 8||$6 mil||$0||$6 mil||$7.857 mil|
|Year 9||$6 mil||$0||$6 mil||$7.857 mil|
|Year 10||$6 mil||$0||$6 mil||$7.857 mil|
|Year 11||$3 mil||$0||$3 mil||$7.857 mil|
|Year 12||$1 mil||$0||$1 mil||$7.857 mil|
|Year 13||$1 mil||$0||$1 mil||$7.857 mil|
|Year 14||$1 mil||$0||$1 mil||$7.857 mil|
|Total $||$42 mil||$68 mil||$110 mil|
To be frank, very few probably foresaw an offer sheet for big term and big bucks, if only because negotiating with Weber and getting him to sign on such terms would be akin to doing David Poile’s job for him. With the right to match, the 14-year term could guarantee Weber stays in Nashville for the rest of his career; with a reasonable cap hit, the only impediment would be whether or not they could come up with enough cash flow – $80 million in the first 6 years of the deal – to afford it. Really, if I’m David Poile, I don’t see any reason not to match the Flyers’ offer, except maybe if I could work out a trade with the Flyers in the next 7 days for several top-level players or prospects.
For those criticizing Mike Gillis or the Canucks for not being aggressive enough, consider these:
1) I doubt this is a money issue. Aquilini has shown time and again that he’s willing to buck up. Look at the big-money, long-term commitments he’s made to Luongo, the Sedins, Kesler, Hamhius, Bieksa, Ballard, Booth, Garrison, Schneider… the list goes on. Look at how much he’s willing to spend on depth NHL players while they’re playing in the AHL.
2) The Canucks could have thrown Weber a one-year offer sheet, but given the state of CBA negotiations, why would he sign on for one year and then have to negotiate a new contract under the new – and presumably more stringent – CBA next year?
3) The Canucks could have thrown Weber a multi-year offer sheet, but unlike the Flyers, the Canucks probably weren’t willing to risk that Nashville would simply match, and thus remove Weber from the market.
4) if the Predators were indeed shopping Weber’s rights, it’s hard to believe the Canucks would have been able to offer anywhere near the kind of return the Flyers, Rangers, Sharks (the other rumored suitors for Weber) are able to. The Canucks’ biggest trading chip would’ve been one of their goaltenders, which the Predators don’t need. After that, it’s probably Alex Edler, who is, like Weber would’ve been, a UFA next year. In comparison, the other teams could offer a package that potentially includes the likes of Taylor Hall, Sean Couturier, Braydon Coburn, Chris Kreider, Ryan McDonagh, Patrick Marleau or Joe Pavelski.
For the most optimistic of us, I suppose, given the Predators’ general financial environment and the Flyers’ willingness to trade even long-term deals, we could hope that Weber would someday be available via the trade market. In the meantime, the Canucks’ 42-year quest for a true no. 1 defenseman continues.