Thursday, July 19, 2012

Discord in Music City: Flyers sign Weber to offer sheet

One thing is for certain, if Paul Holmgren needs to fill the gap created by Chris Pronger's career-threatening injury, he'll go out and find someone who fits the bill.

Early this morning, the Flyers signed restricted free agent defenseman Shea Weber to an offer sheet that Darren Dreger from TSN of Canada reported is worth $110 million over 14 years with $68 million of bonus cash in the first six years of the deal.

The breakdown was revealed as: $14 million in each of the first four years; $12 million in years five and six; $6 million in each of the next four seasons; $3 million in year 11; and $1 million in each of the remaining years.

Dreger also confirmed on Thursday afternoon that the Predators knew of the offer sheet yesterday.

Holmgren confirmed the move on Thursday, issuing a terse statement which read: “The Philadelphia Flyers have signed restricted free agent (D) Shea Weber to an offer sheet. There will be no further comment at this time.”

According to some reports, Weber's signing of the sheet indicates that any good will between he and the Predators organization might have evaporated following the defection of batterymate and unrestricted free agent Ryan Suter to Minnesota with a $98 million deal over 13 years which the club did not attempt to match.

Nashville GM David Poile, a consistent trading partner with the Flyers going back several years, issued his own statement shortly before noon:“We are in receipt of the offer sheet signed between the Philadelphia Flyers and Shea Weber. Under the rules pertaining to an offer sheet, the Predators have one week to decide whether to match or accept the compensation. We have stated previously that, should a team enter into an offer sheet with Shea, our intention would be to match and retain Shea. Our ownership has provided us with the necessary resources to build a Stanley Cup-winning team. Due to the complexity of the offer sheet, we will take the appropriate time to review and evaluate it and all of its ramifications in order to make the best decision for the Predators in both the short and long-term.
“We do not anticipate any further comments on this situation until we make our decision within the next seven days.”

The 26-year-old right-handed shooter and team captain rifled home 19 goals and added 30 assists with a plus-21 rating in 79 games for the Preds last season. Since breaking in for the Music City club in 2005, he has totaled 99 goals and 263 points over 480 regular-season games.

Poile is on the clock, with seven days to match the offer.

Weber's agent also chimed in, through the Tennessean: “When Philadelphia came to us with a more than fair market contract, it was too good for us to pass up,” said Jarrett Bousquet of Titan Sports. “If you look at Philadelphia and the great history and tradition they have it just seemed like too good of an opportunity to let pass.

“We had to take a long look at it. It was a hard decision, but Shea wants to give himself the best opportunity to win, as well as work under the conditions of the current collective bargaining agreement.”

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