Holy wow, what a wicked 24 hours it has been for Hockey fans everywhere, but especially us Preds fans. At roughly 11 PM Central (or 1 am my time if anyone wants to be concerned about my erratic sleep pattern) Darren Dreger broke news that Shea Weber had signed an offer sheet with the Flyers. What followed over the course of the next day was a collective jaw drop that put Nashville on the Richter Scale (with a 2.1 Magnitude). Opinions were 10 for a penny. Friends turned enemies arguing about fair-weather fans and bandwagon jumpers. The fire Poile debate was re-discussed. All the while new "details"(rumours?) on the situation emerged. Such as Weber visiting the Philadelphia facility and further discussion on the up-front signing bonus the Preds would owe Weber if he signed. But 24 hours later, where are we? Where are we as a fanbase? An Organization? A contender? Let's delve into the details after the jump.
Just a reminder that this is an opinion piece. The only inside information is inside my heart, where I keep my love for the Predators (aww!). I encourage debate and differential of ideology and would adore if you hit me up in the comments or on twitter @CanadasPedsFan.
To see a summary of the day, check out my main man Fang Finger's posts here and here. That being done I'll assume were all up to speed. But none the less where do we start? Let's tackle the Poile hate because really that's what I'm most upset about. Poile was a friggen god to you people during the season! He signed Rinne long term, which was needed. He went beast mode at the Trade deadline, getting Gaustad, Gill and AK and even brought back Radulov (which probably turned out for the worst, but no one can predict that). Too much to say on this, will consider a full Poile post tomorrow. But to get to the bread and butter, I don't think there is a single thing that he could have done to sign Suter. The Preds only got the financial go ahead from the organization 18 months ago, and used the entire time to negotiate with the D-man, but he just wouldn't commit. I truly think that signing Suter was impossible. Now, we'll see what Poile does with Weber, as he has consistently said that he will keep Weber no matter what. If that is proven to be a lie, then this organisation will have some integrity questions to answer.
The second question is Weber's willingness to stay in Nashville. Fans and enemies of the Predators are livid over rumours that the captain is unhappy here, wants a change of scenery; wants a chance to win. Most of this, though, is from unidentified sources and unconfirmed tweets. Here is a hypothetical question for you. Let's say you we're in a place you didn't like - like jail or a bad theme park - would you sign a contract that might keep you there for 14 years? I probably wouldn't. Shea and his agents understand the implications of an RFA contract and know that it could keep in in Nashville for his career. He signed it because it's the money he deserves and it puts the pressure on Poile (and the organization) to loosen the purse straps and pay it forward. And, worse case scenario (for him) he leaves Nashville behind and plays in Philly with some of his buddies. Don't believe everything on twitter, to run a meme into the ground "You mean people would just go on the Internet ... and tell lies?"
Okay, let's speculate. First off, I fully think the Preds sign Weber. Not doing so is organizational suicide (not a real thing, roll with it). No one in their right mind, who promised to pay the money all year, would let a franchise player walk out the door. They'll find the upfront money necessary for keeping him.
But let's say they don't. Then what? Well, the first issue is the - now very distant - cap floor. The Preds would be caught in one of the most ridiculous limbo's ever. They will have lost their stars and require a rebuild BUT they will have to spend money on expensive veterans to reach the minimum payroll requirements. What would hit the ice would be the most confusing mixtures of hopeful future talent (Ellis, C. Wilson, C. Smith) and overpaid heavy contracted veterans (Voracek? Doan? Nash? Lungo (could you imagine Luongo backing up Rinne, just for the lols?). Not to mention having to give up the aforementioned prospects just to acquire these players. It's ridiculous. It's implausible. It's a friggen headache. Not to mention doing this with probably a new GM? It would be a total disaster.
And then there's the fan backlash. Look no further than Columbus and the Rick Nash situation. Franchise player asking to leave and even that is heartbreaking to the fans. Weber isn't asking to leave but rather Poile would be abandoning him. Not only would we be losing our best player but it's a huge statement from the organization. It says "Hey guys, we lied about that whole paying people good money to play hockey and actually we are still going to try to scrape by at the minimum required salary, is that cool?". It's a slap in the face. One that Preds fans should, and will, feel insulted about.
Let's recap, Brendan Shanahan Style:
I'm Ray Harris of the Fang Faction Blogging Team, Wednesday night an incident occurred where Shea Weber signed a contract sheet with the Philadelphia Flyers. The previous written reasons clearly show that this is a franchise defining moment for the Nashville Predators.
For the following reasons, Poile will resign Weber.
1. His job depends on it.
2. Not signing him creates dangerous problems with the cap floor
3. This is required to keep the fans of the team happy
Lastly, Ray's Whacky Prediction of the Night is:
Weber goes to Flyers. An Upset Rinne demands a trade. Poile sends him to Tampa. Lindback backs him up for the season.
Hit me up in the comments or on twitter to tell me all the reasons why what I just said is dumb.
Stay strong Preds fans.