Offer sheet breakdown (from this morning's Meltzer's Musings)
by ABQ Flyer
UPDATE 10:15 AM
Per Nick Kypreos' twitter feed, here is the breakdown of the Shea Weber offer sheet:
Kypreos reports the per-season breakdowns of the 14-year deal work like this:
* The total deal is worth $110 million over 14 seasons
* The annual cap hit is $7.9 million
* $80 million of the $110 million must be paid in the first six years of the deal
* The signing bonus portion is much bigger than the actual in-season salary and would be paid out in installments over the first six years
* The deal is paid out as follows: From the 2012-13 to 2015-16 seasons (four seasons), Weber will receive $13 million each year toward signing bonus payment and $1 million in salary; in 2016-17 to 2017-18 (two seasons), he will get $8 million annually toward the signing bonus and $4 million in salary; From 2017-18 to 2021-22 (four seasons), the signing bonuses end and a $6 million salary kicks in; In 2022-23, the salary reduces to $3 million for the season; in 2023-24 to 2025-26 (the final three seasons), the salary reduces to $1 million.
Now that the Flyers have signed Shea Weber to a 14-year, $100 million offer sheet, one has to wonder about whether the offer is structured in such a way that the upfront money is such that it would force the Nashville Predators to arrange a trade with Philadelphia. In terms of the $7.1 million cap hit, it would actually be LESS than his cap hit from the 2011-12 season.
The real key to the offer sheet is the reported $26 million signing bonus that would be due to Weber. That's an awful lot of money to pony up right away, and that's an actual dollar amount that is far tougher to meet than any cap hit number over the life of the deal.
Regardless of the upfront money, however, I think the chances of the Predators simply declining to match the offer (and receiving four first-round draft picks as compensation) are minimal. I can't see the team, which is forced to spend nearly $14 million just to reach the temporary cap floor for 2012-13, NOT finding a way to come up with the money to match if that is their only option.
That's especially true because the final offer the Predators were prepared to give Ryan Suter was supposedly not all that far off the mark from what he ended up accepting from Minnesota. Weber is Nashville's franchise player, and they are not about to take draft picks in return for him when their second-best defenseman just left the team as a unrestricted free agent.
As such, retaining Weber -- or at least extracting a hefty trade return from the Flyers as part of an agreement not to match the offer sheet -- is now the most important challenge the Predators have faced since getting an NHL franchise and building into a playoff team in the first place. If the Predators end up with no Suter, no Weber and no immediate roster players in return, they would be sending a clear-cut message to their players, Barry Trotz and fans alike that management is unable to go the extra mile to keep a winning product on the ice.
The only way I could see Weber ending up in Philadelphia now is via a two-step trade over the next week. That is doable. As with the Chris Gratton acquisition in 1997, the Flyers can immediately re-acquire some or all of the compensatory picks they would send to Nashville in exchange for not matching the offer sheet. It would be a de facto trade for Weber although officially it would technically be two different transactions. Officially, the Predators would decline to match the offer sheet, and then trade draft picks back to Philadelphia in exchange for players.
Weber is the one and only player in the NHL for whom I would NOT consider anyone but Claude Giroux untouchable from a Philly standpoint. Depending on what else would be going to the Predators, I could see the Flyers making even the likes of Sean Couturier and the Schenn brothers available.
With the Flyers having failed to re-sign either Matt Carle or Jaromir Jagr, they are actually NOT in that bad of shape to take on Weber's cap hit even if Predators somehow declined to match the offer. Per Capgeek.com, the Flyers currently have over $7 million of cap space under the temporary $70.2 million cap ceiling.
There is low-hanging fruit -- waiving Jody Shelley, for example -- that could free up additional cap space before the club would have to dip into Chris Pronger's LTIR allowance or making salary-dump trades so they can be cap compliant on opening night. Keep in mind that teams at the cap ceiling will NOT be punished under a new CBA, even if the cap gets rolled back as expected. Already-contracted salaries would be reduced accordingly.
Of course, taking on Weber in a non-match RFA scenario would make it tough for the Flyers to also accomplish re-signing restricted free agent forward Jakub Voracek. But I would strongly suspect that the Flyers will trade at least one starting defenseman under any Weber scenario, both to free up cap space and to alleviate the numbers game.
However, as stated earlier, I think the only way the Flyers will actually get Weber will be via trade with the Predators. Significant salary would go back the other way to Nashville. I figure the trade would involve at least a couple of current NHL roster players -- at least one of which would be a defenseman, another of whom would be a forward -- plus Nashville keeping at least two of the first-round picks.
I was among those who thought there was no way the Flyers would go the offer sheet route with Weber. But now that it has happened, I can see where they decided it was the best way to go. Three reasons:
1) They are already prepared to make a substantial trade offer to Nashville. The offer sheet forces Nashville's hand to either culminate a deal in the next week or else match the offer and put an end to the situation.
2) Signing Weber to the offer sheet ensures the player will either be a Flyer or a Predator for many years to come. As such, none of the Flyers' rival teams will be able to get him. Maintaining the status quo is the consolation prize for Philly if no trade can be worked out ahead of Nashville matching the offer sheet.
3) If Weber hit the open market next summer, there is no telling where he'd end up. It could very well have been Vancouver or, worse, with another Atlantic Division club.
For Weber, signing the offer sheet with the Flyers is a no-lose situation. He's going to get current UFA-type money a year early -- ahead of any CBA rollback of maximum contract length and locked in ahead of any cap ceiling rollback.
Weber is obviously comfortable enough with the idea of staying in Nashville to "risk" the team matching it to lock him in for what conceivably will be the rest of his career. He's also clearly equally comfortable with the idea of coming to Philadelphia or he wouldn't have agreed to the offer sheet in the first place.
The ball is in the Predators' court now. It will be fascinating to watch what will unfold over the next week. It's probably going to take Nashville's management a couple days to review the Flyers' offer sheet in depth. In the meantime, David Poile and Paul Holmgren will talk about trade packages so that both sides can walk away with something of value.
Anything can happen at this point, but the LEAST likely development would be for Poile to passively allow his franchise player to join Suter in leaving Nashville. The Predators' trading leverage centers around management giving Poile the ability to match the Philadelphia offer sheet if there is no mutually satisfactory deal to be made with Holmgren.
The Predators' preferred course of action would have been to get Weber re-signed under their own terms or trade him for an even bigger return. That avenue is no longer available but it is wrong to assume that Nashville has no power in this situation.
Posted on Jul 19, 2012, 10:45 AM from IP address 188.8.131.52