The Nashville Predators have retained their longtime captain. The team announced that it has matched the 14-year, $110 million offer sheet tendered to defenseman Shea Weber by the Philadelphia Flyers five days ago. The contract is the largest in the history of the Predators, and ensures that Weber will stay in Nashville for a decade and beyond.
Considered to be among the elite defenseman in all of Hockey, Weber was the subject of trade speculation until Philadelphia lodged its offer sheet, sending a shock through the NHL. The Predators took many factors into consideration before agreeing to match, according to the team's statement.
As the organization analyzed the overall situation and worked toward a conclusion, the decision boiled down to three questions:
- Was Shea Weber the individual that this franchise wanted to lead our team, a team that would compete for the Stanley Cup every year, for the next 14 years?
- Would matching the offer sheet be in the best long-term interest of the team and organization?
- Would a decision not to match the offer sheet send a negative message to current Predators players and other NHL organizations, a message that the Predators would only go so far to protect its best players and be pushed around by teams with "deep pockets?"
The answer to each of the above questions is clearly “yes.”
Weber scored 19 goals and added 30 assists for the Predators last season, leading the team to the Western Conference semi-finals where there were beaten in five games by the Phoenix Coyotes.