Flyers Sign Shea Weber to an Offer Sheet
Looks like Paul Holmgren deployed a his "Whiff On Zach Parise And Ryan Suter" contingency plan: pay a serious premium for the next best thing.
And Shea Weber, who late Wednesday signed an offer sheet worth reportedly "upwards of $100 million" over 10 years, is cooperating.
Tweeted Darren Dreger (TSN):
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
Said seven days end July 25.
The odds that they don't (or can't) are pretty high.
That much up-front money would make it pretty tough for Nashville, a small market team in a low budget sport, to match.
Particulars notwithstanding, the potential deal is already the third-richest in hockey history in terms of overall value, behind those of the two best players in the game, Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin. The best players available at the start of the offseason, Parise and Suter, signed identical 13-year, $98 million pacts with Minnesota.
That bodes well for the Flyers chances of landing Weber, 26, who, as Frank Seravalli of the Inquirer notes, would be the Flyers sweetest haul since Eric Lindros in 1992.
The Predators have basically gone "New York Knicks On Jeremy Lin" and said they'd match any offer sheet. But the sticking point was up-front money, of which there seems to be a lot.
Per season, that won't be too burdensome for the Flyers. Simple math tells you that if the deal was worth $100 million even, the cap hit would would be $7.14 million per, less than the $7.5 million Weber made last year in Nashville.
Still, that much money over that many years is a pretty hefty commitment.
Dollars and cap space sense, per Frank Seravalli:
"Currently, the Flyers have approximately $12.7 million in cap space available for next season, not including Pronger's $4.91 million which can be moved to the long-term injury list. That number is based on the temporary cap ceiling of $70.2 million, which could indeed fall based on the next Collective Bargaining Agreement. The current deal expires on Sept. 15, and with a lockout now looming, the NHL's first proposal at the negotiating table included a cap drop to $64 million for next season."
The deal should fly with the league office, since the ruling on Ilya Kovalchuk's crazy-long 2010 deal that "circumvented the salary cap" called for any year beyond a player's 41st birthday to not be considered in average annual value calculations. This deal, much like those for Parise and Suter, would carry Weber to his 40th birthday.
If the Predators don't match, they'd be due compensation under NHL rules. Depending on the average annual value of the contract, that could mean either four first round picks or two first rounders, a second and a third.
It's worth noting that Holmgren was trying to hammer out a trade for Weber's rights, but got fed up after a few "key milestones" had passed and decided to pull the trigger on an offer sheet. Had all gone according to plan, acquiring said rights would've cost the Flyers either players or picks anyway.
There's no doubt the Flyers could use Weber. With Chris Pronger's status (concussion) completely up in the air, Weber, a two-time NHL first team All-Star and runner-up for last year's Norris Trophy (top defenseman), represents what they needed most: defense.
Plus, it's something of an investment in an investment. Figure this has got to help the Flyers nine-year, $51 million man between the posts, Ilya Bryzgalov.
And so, Holmgren seemed willing to pay whatever they had to, even if it was well above their reported offer to Parise and Suter, $80 million over 12 years, plus whatever compensatory picks are due to Nashville.