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.

All eyes now on the Weber offer sheet storyline.

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.

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14 Responses to NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 20, 2012.

  1. chaas says:

    It certainly makes the owners look silly, demanding the players make money sacrifices while offering silly-sized contracts. All I hear is that little voice, the devil on my shoulder in the form of Gary Bettman, telling me a salary cap will make everything alright. And this kind of makes me want to punch something.

  2. SmielmaN says:

    I get that the huge contracts make the owners look dumb, but they should also indicate to the players: if your playing well your going to be well paid. So no matter about the money split, if your in demand your getting your millions and years. The players are going to have to bargain down to the 50/50 I bet but as long as the cap is set to revenue, and they put a great product on the ice, everyone makes more money.

    Anyways, Preds have to match the offer and save some face. Right now the Flyers are bullies saying “if you don’t take what I’m offering I’m just going take your franchise, top D man in the game, captain and there’s nothing you can do about it”. The Preds have to match or they start going down the Atlanta or Columbus route. I hope they match that offer, Weber is way too valuable to their franchise and shouldn’t just have him poached away like that.

  3. Capsfan says:

    Whaaat? He want win so he accepts a deal that crushes capspace? It’s all bull, this deal is ONLY about the money, or else he would’ve sign for 6$m/yr for 5-10 yrs tops. If winning were the main concern, but it’s not even a part of it.

    • NikK says:

      100% agree. Its all about money.

      But if someone dangled $110 Million infront of our faces, I am pretty sure we would ask for a pen immediately.

      • Capsfan says:

        Don’t get me wrong. I’m fine with him wanting the money, actually, I’m glad. Should make it harder for the flyers to defeat caps :) – just don’t like that he claims that winning was a part of his decision, it was not.

  4. hckyfan1026 says:

    You are missing the point smeilman. Yes top players will always get paid top dollar. But what about that fringe player/ 3rd 4th line grinder that has seen his salary rise over this current CBA to a level he never imagined and is living a lifestyle he never thought possible and now that the league wants to cut the players share by 5 to 11 percent what do you think will happen to his salary? He will ultimately take a pay cut because of the decrease share, while his star counterparts will feel no effect whatsoever with a decrease in players share. Owners will always overpay for free agent talent, its inevitable. If I am the PA, I bank on owners finding a way to screw up the new CBA just like they did the last one. Owners will find a way to get around the cap and find loopholes in their own agreement and players will reap the financial rewards. No one can say right now that the players didn’t win the last lockout. At the time it looked like the league had really stuck it to them, now the players have the last laugh and I would be willing to bet you anything it will happen with the new agreement as well.

  5. NikK says:

    I don’t think that the Preds should or need to match this offer. Losing Weber is only a blow on-ice. This is a team who has never in their history been able to attract big-ticket free agents. Losing Weber now will not change that, keeping Weber will not change that. This is also the team that drafted and developed Suter, Weber, Hamhuis… they will find guys like this again and develop them.

    Why would you handcuff our team financially? If they match this offer, all they have next season is Weber and Rinne. I’d rather take the picks and rebuild through the draft over the next couple of seasons.

    I would take the four draft picks and run away FAST. Here is my logic:
    -Nashville is one of the best teams at drafting/developing
    -8 first round picks in the next four years
    -two 1st rd pick each year means they have the ability to trade up each time and get a better player
    -Losing Ryan Suter was already a blow to the roster, so why not get some value out of Weber… you can’t win with Weber alone.

    Their biggest mistake was not trading these guys when they had the change.

  6. Habsfan1 says:

    I’m not surprised by the player reaction to the NHL’s first offer. Fehr seems competent and should have told the membership the irst offer would be crap and essentially meaningless so stay calm. The real game only starts now with the PA counter offer.

    @Nikk…completely agree.

  7. Capsfan says:

    Oh, btw – preds should NOT match. Getting 4 1st rounders, not a crazy contract and losing out on someone who don’t want too stay? It’s a no-brainer

  8. Sean says:

    I don’t see the problem with the owners’ initial demands–It seems fair for an initial proposal among negotiations. The point of negotiations are to negotiate–These terms aren’t what the owners expect to receive, these are simply the ideal terms that the owners want if there was no NHLPA to negotiate with. There are going to be many terms in the NHLPA’s initial proposal that the Owners will dislike. So, the way a negotiation works is if one party agrees to eradicate or lessen certain terms, the other party will also lessen their unappealing terms in return. That’s just the way it works. If the owners walked in and said, “we want a 50/50 split, with 5-year contract limits.” I’m sure the NHLPA would counter with a lower proposal, and the eventual agreement would result in an agreement for less than a 50/50 share in favour of the players. The media are making an issue of a non-problem.

  9. chaas says:

    The Flyers aren’t going to suddenly implode overnight. Best case scenario, Pronger returns and Weber becomes a replacement for Carle. Their blue line instantly improves. Worst case scenario, Weber replaces Pronger and is an upgrade on the ice and Schenn replaces Carle.

    What this means is the defense is at least as good as it was last year, however with Weber they now have a veteran defenseman to anchor them. The defense, and as a result the goaltending, improved when they were anchored by a healthy Pronger. It fell apart when he was hurt. This is exactly the kind of influence they need to help fill the void.

    Take into consideration as well, the Flyers have a roster that still makes the playoffs for the next 4 years barring cataclysmic injuries, even without Weber. We’re talking about a pick outside the top 15 pretty much every season.

    It’s not really worth it to try to draft a defenseman with Weber’s skills. We haven’t seen many defensemen of his caliber come out of the draft since the lockout. Too many what-if’s to make it worth while.

    They say money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you a lot of things to make you happy. If Weber’s unhappy about playing in Nashville, he could always buy a motorcycle or something. With the money he’s making, he could buy his boys motorcycles too. Because, you know. Misery loves company.

    It boils down to one thing, and one thing only: Money. If the number-crunchers in Nashville determine they can pay the contract, they should retain his services.

  10. gameon63 says:

    i love how Dreger says the Flyers hand was forced when Poile wanted Schenn and Courturier in a trade. Philadelphia could’ve just walked away but instead they made a predatory offer that was designed to punish Nashville for asking for fair value in a trade instead of just rolling over. i hope Nashville does match the offer and trades Weber next year (they only have to keep him for a year before they’re allowed to trade him) for fair value and then uses their Cap room (they’re always well under) to sign offer sheets (driving up their price) to ALL of the Flyers RFA’s over the next 5 years.

    • Grizzledbear says:

      The only problem with that scenario is that it will cost the Preds about 20M or more for that one year of service from Weber if they trade him after one season. That’s a lot of money to pay to a guy that wants out.

  11. puckhead says:

    Weber signing this offer says he doesn’t want to be in Nashville, and if the reports are true, he made a very calculated decision on where he wants to be. Yes, the money is attractive but a 14 deal that takes him to age 40 is not something to you sign overnight. He obviously thought about this for a long time and basically made the decision that for the remainder of his professional hockey career that he’d like to wear the orange and black. I think if Nashville matches they are going to have a player who doesn’t want to be there. A trade could still be worked out between these 2 teams, however now the Flyers have more ammo because if Nashville still wants Couturier and Schenn, Homer can say “No” and can sit back and wait until the Wednesday deadline. This is a good move from Philly when you really think about it. They either trade for their guy or the offer sheet goes through and if Nashville matches Weber could always go back and demand a trade. Either way, whether it be the Flyers or someone else, Shea Weber won’t be a predator for a very long time.

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