Not happening? That's what NHL Sportsnet Canada's Nick Kypreos had to say about the Nashville Predators potentially matching the Philadelphia Flyers' $110-million offer sheet to defenseman Shea Weber. Kypreos tweeted that out on July 19, 2012. Kypreos was one of many experts who felt like the Predators couldn't afford the $27 million that needed to be paid during the next calendar year.
Kypreos wasn't the only person who was unsure of the Predators' ability to match the offer sheet. I too had some doubts about their willingness to make that investment. Fortunately, ownership realized how important Weber was to the organization. The Predators announced on their official team website that they had matched the Flyers' offer on July 24.
Predators chairman Tom Cigarran had previously insisted that "We're not going to lose players because of money." The Predators re-signed goaltender Pekka Rinne to a seven-year, $49-million contract in 2011. However, that isn't the same as offering a multi-year, triple-digit contract to Ryan Suter or Shea Weber. Suter signed with the Minnesota Wild earlier this month. They couldn't afford to lose Jordin Tootoo, Suter and Weber in one month.
The Predators hinted at three key reasons for matching the offer sheet: leadership, long-term interest, and perception. They didn't want big-market franchises to feel like they could bully them around. They wanted to prove to their fan base that they're in this to win Stanley Cups, not just to eventually make a quick profit.
The 2011-12 Los Angeles Kings were the most-recent example of a team who relied on dominant goal-tending and defense throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs. That formula has worked well over the past few seasons. The Predators couldn't have set themselves up much better than they have with Weber and Rinne. They'll need to surround their superstars with young talent through the NHL draft. They could really use an elite scorer. Maybe Colin Wilson will become that kind of player?
The Predators have also announced two extensions this week. 25-year-old forward Sergei Kostitsyn signed a two-year, $6-million extension. 22-year-old forward Colin Wilson signed a three-year, $6-million extension. Predators general manager David Poile, Weber and some of the owners are expected to speak about the offer sheet on July 25.
Joshua Huffman graduated from Middle Tennessee State University as a marketing major in 2009. He's been a Middle Tennessee resident from 1986-88 and 2001-present. He lived in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Wisconsin from 1988-01 and for approximately eight months in 2009-10 as he completed a 20-game volunteer position with the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers. His favorite sports organizations include the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Cubs, Nashville Predators and Tennessee Titans. He can be found on Twitter HERE.
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