Fallout from the Shea Weber offer sheet, analysis of Thursday’s NHL CBA negotiations, several storylines in upcoming Blackhawks fan convention, and Hurricanes sign Tim Wallace.
THE TENNESSEAN: Shea Weber’s agent claims the market changed after Ryan Suter signed with the Minnesota Wild, and his client considered the Philadelphia Flyers offer too good to pass up, adding he wants to give himself the best opportunity to win. Josh Cooper feels “the seeds of this summer’s discontent” were sown last summer, when the Predators took Weber to salary arbitration, then sought a lowball $4.5 million one-year contract from the arbiter, who eventually awarded Weber a one-year, $7.5 million contract.
TSN.CA: Darren Dreger reports the Predators were given a “heads-up” about Weber’s intentions and given an opportunity to arrange a trade, of which the Flyers were among several teams in trade talks, but the Predators wanted Brayden Schenn and Sean Courturier as part of the return, which forced the Flyers hand.
USA TODAY/ESPN.COM/SPORTNET: The Predators have little choice but to match the heavily front-loaded offer (which includes $68 million in signing bonuses paid out over the first six years of the 14-year, $110 million deal), as the fallout if they don’t would be significant.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: David Shoalts believes the Weber offer sheet illustrates the painful reality the Predators face as a small-market, small-revenue NHL team, that being the risk of losing their best players to free agency or offer sheets.
THE NATIONAL POST: Michael Traikos cites the Weber offer sheet as the latest in “NHL lunacy”; specifically, the continuing string of long-term, front-loaded contracts against the backdrop of CBA negotiations, where the owners are demanding the players receive a lower revenue share.
SPORTSNET: Mike Brophy suggest this move is the Flyers way of replacing Chris Pronger, who remains sidelined by post-concussions symptoms, his career probably over.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The anticipation is the Predators will match the offer, for despite how expensive and heavily front-loaded it is, they cannot afford to lose Weber only three weeks after losing his former defense partner Ryan Suter to free agency and the Minnesota Wild. Weber’s signing with the Flyers, however, is seen as indication he doesn’t want to play for the Predators anymore, so much so he’s willing to gamble they won’t match the offer. If they do, he’ll be a Predator for a long time, unless of course they can trade him next summer (one way or the other, Weber cannot be traded for one year from the date he signed the offer). It could set the stage for increasing awkwardness in the relationship between Weber and the Predators management. I expect the Preds will take their time before making their decision, so don’t read too much into it one way or the other if they take the full seven days to evaluate the offer.
NEW YORK TIMES: Calm prevails over the NHL labor negotiations, with the league’s initial hard-line proposal failing to generate a strong reaction thus far from the PA.
NESN: Douglas Flynn credits the PA for the remarkable restraint it has shown thus far, as the players have taken the high road regarding the owners’ initial offer rather than reacting with indignation as expected.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s the significant difference so far in these CBA talks compared to those in 1992, 1994-95 and 2004-05. Back then the PA leadership was brash and outspoken, backed by a militant core of players. This time, the PA isn’t rising to the bait as it did under the previous leadership. Don’t mistake that for acquiescence. The PA may be responding quietly, but they’re also all business in this round of negotiations.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: This year’s Blackhawks fan convention has several interesting storylines, including Patrick Kane’s first public comments since his partying antics in Wisconsin this spring, Marian Hossa making his first return to Chicago since the concussion he suffered during the playoffs, while goalie Corey Crawford will likely face questions from the fans about the team’s interest in Martin Brodeur.
NEWSOBSERVER.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes yesterday agreed to terms on a one-year, two-way contract with forward Tim Wallace, who played 49 games last season split between the NY Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning.