Weber content, likely caught off guard by Preds' move to keep him

Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 5:58pm

Shea Weber said it often enough to suggest he still was not sure it was real.

Ownership stepped up.

A day after the Nashville Predators matched the 14-year, $110 million offer sheet Weber signed with the Philadelphia Flyers, the 26-year-old captain tried to stress that he was satisfied with the outcome even if it might not have been the one he expected.

“You look at the past and what’s gone on with the franchise and players going through the organization — I think this is what we needed,” Weber said. “We needed ownership to step up and show that we’re stable and we can do this kind of thing.”

That was a familiar refrain throughout a conference call with media members from throughout the United States and Canada on Wednesday afternoon as Weber spoke publicly for the first time about his landmark contract and the process that led to it.

The restricted free agent was motivated purely by the current, unstable business climate of the NHL to seek a blockbuster deal at this time, he said. The decision to sign an offer sheet with another club was the best way to do that even though, once he did, it limited his options to those two franchises, Nashville and Philadelphia.

“It’s the business side of it,” he said. “I think we utilized the CBA the best way we could while it’s the way it is. It worked out. I love it in Nashville. The team stepped up and showed that they’re going to spend with the best of teams.

“Now we can focus on the season and hopefully get more pieces of the puzzle and building a contending team for a long time.”

Weber’s deal, which was preceded earlier this week by much smaller ones to forwards Sergei Kostitsyn (two years, $6 million) and Colin Wilson (three years, $6 million), brings the Predators’ current salary cap figure for the coming season to $53.711 million, according to capgeek.com.

That is just under the minimum requirement of $54.2 million and slightly less than $16.5 million away from the maximum. Those numbers are tentative, however, pending the resolution of negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement, during which owners likely will push for tighter rules on the term and size of contracts.

“I love the city of Nashville,” Weber said. “I love the fans. I love my teammates. Like I said before, it’s a very positive thing that the ownership has stepped up and be a team that’s going to spend to the cap, bring guys in and be a successful team.”

The Predators still would like to add a veteran defenseman — either through free agency or a trade — to play in one of their top two pairs. Chances are, though, any such move will not happen until after the salary boundaries for 2012-13 are set in stone.

In the meantime, Weber said he would like a no-trade clause added to the deal (there are distinct differences between an offer sheet and a player contract).

“I look forward to working with Shea for a long time,” coach Barry Trotz said. “He’s an outstanding individual. The process, I know, for Shea and for the organization hasn’t been easy, but it’s part of the business. His group, his agents used the CBA very well and Shea is locked up long-term financially and we feel really good about having him long-term in the organization. It was a great step up by our ownership.”

A step that Weber had to see in order to believe.

“It’s a situation where a lot of people doubted them,” he said. “They said from the beginning if there was an offer sheet they were going to match it. Obviously, they were challenged and stepped up. That’s exactly what we were looking for and it’s exciting.

“… It’s a big step in the right direction. The ownership showed a big commitment here in the last week and, obviously, going forward.”

9 Comments on this post:

By: Rasputin72 on 7/25/12 at 5:28

This is a band-aid to placate the fan base. The owners are probably crying in their beer at the thought of was is ahead financially. I would suggest a lot of wining and dining and contributions to the Karl Dean show.

By: gid on 7/26/12 at 6:13

Ras - every time you post you show your ignorance. You, clearly, know nothing about hockey or the Preds.

By: gdiafante on 7/26/12 at 6:58

Rasp is usually wrong in every post he writes, so you can be pretty sure that if you ignore him, you won't miss anything.

By: Rasputin72 on 7/26/12 at 7:37

gdiafante....One thing I have learned about people with a lot of money, They usually can smell the scent of it or the lack of it. They usually can smell risk and and how much.

By: dva56 on 7/26/12 at 8:06

Rasputin72 has never read an article about the Preds that he hasn't spewed venom at. He longs for the 70's and 80's when lower Broadway was littered with peep shows and prostitutes. In fact he has become so predictable in his responses that there really is no point in reading them anymore.

By: joe41 on 7/26/12 at 8:35

Just ignore the Ras. As I have saiud before, he is a nut job from another city. He has NEVER supported anything for Nashville. NOTHING. But we will say that I am proud of the Preds management and the risk that they took.
Joe

By: Rasputin72 on 7/26/12 at 9:55

The fanatics are out in quantity this morning. The most amazing loyalty I have seen for any sport.

By: TITAN1 on 7/26/12 at 11:40

RaspRump, isn't it about time you changed your name again?

By: TITAN1 on 7/26/12 at 11:43

RaspRump, you really should thank the rest of us. We give you the attention you crave here. It must be the highlight of your day.