To say Preds fans are sighing with relief is quite an understatement. After much anticipation – and many ruined manicures – Music City and the rest of the hockey world was greeted with this:
Moments later, the Predators released the official press statement, just to clarify:
Nashville, Tenn. (July 24, 2012) - In the most important hockey transaction in franchise history, Nashville Predators Chairman Tom Cigarran, President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile and CEO Jeff Cogen announced today that the team has matched the 14-year, $110 million offer sheet between the Philadelphia Flyers and defenseman Shea Weber, insuring that the Predators’ captain will remain with the franchise for the next 14 years.
The decision to enter into the largest contract in franchise history was made by all parts of the organization, including ownership, hockey operations and business operations.
Although the largest in Predators franchise history, Weber’s $110 million, 14-year contract still falls to Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals’ 13-year, $124 million deal. Wowza.
Throughout this gut-wrenching ordeal, one thing that cannot be overlooked is that, not only did Nashville hang onto their captain, they also stuck it to one of the wealthiest, most-powerful franchises in the league. By doing this, the Predators proved themselves as more than just a development team for higher powers, such as the Flyers, the Rangers, the Penguins, for example. Writing out a check for that much is painful for a adolescent team such as Nashville, but matching that offer means so much more in the long run for the Predators than just nabbing their most-influential captain for fourteen years.
Overshadowed by the matching offer, the Predators also signed another key component to Nashville’s run towards the Cup. Forward Colin Wilson was signed a few hours before the news release of Shea Weber, shaking hands on a three-year, $6 million deal. Though we questioned wether Wilson would remain a Predator due to his run-ins with Coach Barry Trotz, we are glad to see such a valuable player sticking around for three more years.
Again, with this matching offer, the Predators take a swing at the bigger brothers of the NHL, proving that “little brother” isn’t afraid to grab the bull by the horns and hang onto what belongs to them.