Shea Weber is expected to speak on Wednesday about his new 14-year shackling to an organization that his agent Jarrett Bousquet said was entering an "undesirable rebuilding process" for his client. It'll be fascinating to hear what Weber says about the Nashville Predators; it'll be equally fascinating to see how the Predators handle Weber.
That's because the $110-million, 14-year deal he struck with the Philadelphia Flyers and was matched by GM David Poile doesn't have a no-movement or no-trade clause.
From Weber's other agent, Kevin Epp, on Sportsnet 590:
"I think as an organization, I think when you sign this kind of commitment to a player, I think it should go with the territory. I mean they're making their commitment long-term, and I think the player wants to have the same commitment, that if he's gonna stay there long-term, then he should have a no-movement [or] no trade clause in the contract. That's everybody's wishes, I believe."
Bousquet told ESPN.com Tuesday night that he and his client would be talking to the Predators about the possibility of adding a no-trade or no-move clause to the deal, although it's difficult to imagine the circumstances under which the Predators would want to add such a clause.
Actually, it isn't. One imagines that in order to soothe their captain and provide a soft landing for all involved, the Predators could offer some type of NMC after the first year of the deal (during which they couldn't trade him anyway).
Should they? Of course not. In the words of Herb Brooks, "Screw 'em."
According to section 10.3 (b) of the CBA, here's what happens immediately after a team matches an offer sheet to one of their RFAs:
... such Restricted Free Agent and the Prior Club shall be deemed to have entered into a binding agreement, which they shall promptly formalize in an SPC, containing: (i) all the Principal Terms (subject to subsection (e) below); and (ii) such additional terms as may be agreed upon between the Restricted Free Agent and the Prior Club.
The (ii) part of this matter means that the details are ironed out once the offer sheet process plays out. Now that the Predators have Weber on a 14-year term, both teams must agree in order for a no-trade clause to be applied.
The Predators, however, shouldn't acquiesce. Weber exercised his right to sign with the Flyers, and the Predators have every right to withhold protections that they won't deal him to Columbus in 2013.
If that sounds spiteful … well, I believe "business" is the preferred nomenclature. It's just business when Rick Nash doesn't want to go to Canada. It's just business when Dany Heatley doesn't want to go to Edmonton. And it's just business if the Predators decided to flip their franchise player to the highest bidder without Weber having any control over the destination.
Fact is, Weber chose this path. He chose a 14-year, front-loaded deal while the CBA allowed it, instead of a high-yield one-year contract that would have led him to unrestricted free agency.
In an attempt to control his own destiny, he ceded all of it to David Poile.
The thinking on Nashville handing over an NTC/NMC seems optimistic in the extreme though and you wonder if Weber was similarly advised. If he was, he was probably not particularly well served, given that there's no reason in the world for Nashville to limit their flexibility more than the contract already has.
Again: No reason, outside of some quaint, folksy notion of devotion that Nashville has always seemed steeped in during the Poile/Trotz regime. That the Predators, their players and their fans were a family battling disrespect and disregard from the outside world.
Well, "folksy devotion" went to Minnesota and signed an offer sheet with the Flyers.
Kevin Epp on Shea Weber: "I think he's going to be happy in Nashville. He's always been happy there."
Nashville would be foolish to let Shea Weber be a master of his own happiness for the next 14 years.
Additional reporting by Harrison Mooney.