Shea Weber will not be heading to Philly after all. The Predators get to keep their captain and set a couple of records along the way.
On Tuesday general manager David Poile announced his team is matching the Flyers' 14-year, 110 million offer sheet in order to guarantee a roster spot for their leader through the 2025-26 season. And in doing so, they are coughing up the largest contract in franchise history and have made Weber the highest paid defenseman in NHL history.
According to the Predators' website, the organization considered three main points when deciding whether to match Philadelphia's offer:
1. Whether Weber could lead the team to contend for the Stanley Cup over the tenure of the contract.
2. Whether matching would be best for the long-term interest of the team.
3. What kind of message it would send to the rest of their players and the rest of the league if they were willing to give him up so easily.
After losing Ryan Suter to the Minnesota Wild, it is not shocking that Nashville matched. However, it is pretty safe to say that Weber likely did not see this coming if he was so willing to sign the offer sheet with the Flyers. He said he didn't want to be with a "rebuilding organization," and losing Suter takes a huge hit at the Nashville blue line. But matching was the only option the Predators had to keep their team afloat heading into the 2012-13 season.
Still, the numbers in Weber's contract just seem unfathomable.
As long as the season begins on time, the Blackhawks will be facing Weber and the rest of Predators five times throughout the 2012-13 regular season. During the 2011-12 campaign, Weber recorded 49 points in 78 games played, finishing the season with a plus-21 rating. He was drafted by Nashville in the second round of the 2003 draft and has spent his entire NHL career with the Predators.