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Weber, Predators In Stalemate: What Does This Mean?


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By: Tyler J. Altemos

Earlier this week, in a twist of Chris Nolan-like proportions, it was discovered that Shea Weber and the Nashville Predators have yet to formalize their agreement in a contract (SPC). The Predators had previously matched the Flyers offer sheet of 14 years, $110 million on July 24.

Over at Predators Insider, Josh Cooper of the Tennessean explained that Weber’s agent, Jarrett Bousquet of Titan Sports, is still negotiating with the Club on including a no-trade or no-movement clause as part of Weber’s gargantuan agreement. Last Wednesday, Dirk Hoag of the SB Nation blog “On the Forecheck” ran the story. Last night, Dustin Leed of The Hockey Guys caught wind of the article through Twitter. Now that Flyers fans have caught wind of this twist in events, they’re looking for answers.

Nineteen days later, there is still no agreement. Why? And what, if anything, does this mean for the Flyers?

I decided to scavenge the CBA for an answer. And while there are still some questions looming due to this being an extremely unusual case, I believe I have made the situation a little simpler to understand.

To begin, a refresher on what the CBA says about the offer sheet process:

10.3 Offer Sheet and First Refusal Procedures. (b) If the Prior Club gives the Restricted Free Agent and his Certified Agent, if any, notice … that it is exercising its Right of First Refusal … within the seven (7) day period, such Restricted Free Agent and the Prior Club shall be deemed to have entered into a binding agreement, which they shall promptly formalize in an SPC, containing: (i) all the Principal Terms…; and (ii) such additional terms as may be agreed upon between the Restricted Free Agent and the Prior Club. The Prior Club may not Trade that Restricted Free Agent for a period of one year from the date it exercises its Right of First Refusal.

Upon Nashville’s matching of the offer, Shea Weber became a Predator. The offer he signed with the Flyers (14 years, $110 million) became the principal terms of his now-current agreement with the Predators. What is interesting to note, however, is that upon matching, the Predators and Weber are permitted to add additional terms to the agreement before formalizing it in an SPC.

And hence, the holdup.

But what exactly is an SPC? And why hasn’t one been enforced yet?

Simply put, an SPC is a contract. SPC literally stands for Standard Player Contract. As far as its enforceability is concerned, the CBA states:

11.3 Validity and Enforceablility (of SPCs). Except as expressly set forth in Section 11.5 below, no SPC shall be valid or enforceable in any manner whatsoever unless and until it has been filed with Central Registry and approved by the League or the Arbitrator.

At this point, we understand that the terms of Weber’s offer sheet with the Flyers became the terms he now has with the Predators. But the CBA allows Weber and the Predators to add other terms before formalizing the offer sheet into an SPC–in this case, a no-trade or no-movement clause. It appears as if Weber is refusing to sign until the Predators add such a clause.

But here is where things get tricky. Weber is still a Group 2 Restricted Free Agent (RFA). This means that a special set of rules applies to him, notably a December 1 deadline to sign:

11.4 Signing Deadline for Group 2 Free Agent. An SPC for a Group 2 Free Agent will be rejected and will be null and void … if it is not signed and filed with Central Registry by 5:00p.m. New York time on December 1 in the then current NHL Season.

This means that if Shea Weber doesn’t sign by December 1, he can’t play the entire 2012-13 season.

Furthermore, even if the Predators do give Weber a no-trade or no-movement clause, it cannot go into effect until the 2013-14 season when he turns 27 and is eligible to become a Group 3 Unrestricted Free Agent (UFA). Adding to the complications, if a limited no-trade or no-movement clause is provided and Weber is later traded, the clause will not carry over unless agreed upon by the acquiring club.

11.8 Individually Negotiated Limitations on Player Movement. (a) SPCs containing a no-Trade or a no-move clause may be entered into prior to the time that the Player is a Group 3 Unrestricted Free Agent so long as the SPC containing the no-Trade or no-move clause extends through and does not become effective until the time that the Player qualifies for Group 3 Unrestricted Free Agency. If the Player is Traded or claimed on Waivers prior to the no-Trade or no-move clause taking effect, the clause does not bind the acquiring Club. An acquiring Club may agree to continue to be bound by the no-Trade or no-move clause… .

As if there aren’t enough wrenches thrown into the mix, there is also the potential lockout of players on September 15, if the NHLPA and NHL cannot come to an agreement on a new CBA.

I have seen several claims from Flyers fans that perhaps Weber is holding out for a lockout to occur, hoping that a new CBA will provide some sort of loophole to allow Weber to leave the Predators organization and join another–preferably one in southeastern Pennsylvania.

I have two good reasons why that won’t happen, and why that isn’t the case.

First, Shea Weber signed the offer sheet with Philadelphia not solely because he wished to become a member of the Flyers, but to strike a deal (and a long one) before a new CBA could be enforced. Because a new CBA may cap the term of this contract, it would negatively affect his ability to qualify as a UFA (which in turn disallows him from adding a no-trade or no-movement clause to his deal), and would severely roll back his pay.

For Shea Weber, the worst thing that could happen is a lockout followed by the enforcement of a new CBA before he signs the contract.

Even if a new CBA doesn’t contain all (or any) of those terms which would negatively affect the deal for Weber, he and his agent are smart enough not to run that risk. And speaking of his agent, he’s the other reason why Weber isn’t holding out for a lockout and a new CBA.

Weber’s agent makes a commission based on the amount of Weber’s new contract. As of now, he stands to make a lot of money on this deal. If a new CBA rolls back Weber’s pay, that commission shrinks significantly. Naturally, they intend to push the envelope with Nashville until the last possible minute. But at the end of the day, the Predators can afford to play the waiting game (or so they hope). Weber, however, cannot.

Much has been said by Weber and his agent about where Weber prefers to play. Much has been alleged. Frankly, it is all heresay and is irrelevant to the real issue at hand.

One other possible avenue of resolution I’ve heard floated around is for Weber to file a grievance. The CBA defines a grievance as “any dispute involving the interpretation or application of, or compliance with, any provision of this Agreement, including any SPC.” However, only two parties can file a grievance: the NHL and the NHLPA, and neither the League nor the Players’ Association is going to file a grievance for a case like this one. The term being discussed is an additional term not necessary to the completion of the SPC.

As the midnight hour approaches on August 13, Shea Weber and the Predators remain at a crossroads. Monday marks 20 days since the Predators matched the offer sheet Weber signed with the Flyers. Weber is looking for a no-trade or no-movement clause, and Nashville clearly does not want to provide one.

On Friday, Josh Cooper of the Tennessean wrote in his Predators Insider column that the Predators are having their annual “Skate of the Union” town hall meeting at Bridgestone Arena on August 20. It is uncertain which players will be in attendance.

Wouldn’t it be something if the Predators and Weber were simply waiting until the Skate of the Union to announce that Weber will be spending the remainder of his career there?

I know some Predators fans who would surely appreciate that scenario. I know a lot more Flyers fans who would not.

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Weber is coming off as a whiny prima-donna.

You made your play. The Preds have your rights for the next 14 years. That was your call.

The Preds have absolutely NO reason to give a NMC/NTC in this situation and Weber has absolutely NO right to hold things up.

Sign your contract, ya baby.

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Weber is coming off as a whiny prima-donna.

You made your play. The Preds have your rights for the next 14 years. That was your call.

The Preds have absolutely NO reason to give a NMC/NTC in this situation and Weber has absolutely NO right to hold things up.

Sign your contract, ya baby.

perfectly stated Rad!

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What is interesting to note, however, is that upon matching, the Predators and Weber are permitted to add additional terms to the agreement before formalizing it in an SPC.

He has every right to ask for one. He has little leverage to get one.

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to ponder this a little more... if Weber is demanding a NMC and the Preds are unwilling to provide one what happens? they matched the offer sheet for a boatload of money (more than they have IMO) but wont give the best D man in the league a NMC? Does not make sense... if you are paying Weber or any player that much dough in the first year why would you not give him a guarantee?

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to ponder this a little more... if Weber is demanding a NMC and the Preds are unwilling to provide one what happens? they matched the offer sheet for a boatload of money (more than they have IMO) but wont give the best D man in the league a NMC? Does not make sense... if you are paying Weber or any player that much dough in the first year why would you not give him a guarantee?

My question...if he wanted a NTC/NMC why did he not negotiate one into the offer sheet he signed with the Flyers? Maybe this is oversimplifying things but all the Predators had to do was match what the Flyers were offering which they did. If that did not include a NTC/NMC then too bad.

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This is stupid! They are willing to pay all that money but Not give a NMC???? On the other side, Weber signs with ANOTHER team (Flyers), then gets his offer sheet matched, then acts like he doesn't want to leave Nashville at all. I know he is the best d-man right now but he can stay in the bankrupted Nashville. I don't want any part of it at this point...

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to ponder this a little more... if Weber is demanding a NMC and the Preds are unwilling to provide one what happens? they matched the offer sheet for a boatload of money (more than they have IMO) but wont give the best D man in the league a NMC? Does not make sense... if you are paying Weber or any player that much dough in the first year why would you not give him a guarantee?

The Preds have Weber's rights for the next 14 years. They have a signed agreement (offer sheet) with specific details. They need to do *nothing* more than they already have to retain these rights.

What do the Preds gain by offering Weber MORE at this point? Weber had his leverage - he failed to get a NMC/NTC from the Flyers (which is some sort of miracle) - and his offer sheet was matched.

He has no leverage beyond sitting in a corner and pouting.

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This is stupid! They are willing to pay all that money but Not give a NMC???? On the other side, Weber signs with ANOTHER team (Flyers), then gets his offer sheet matched, then acts like he doesn't want to leave Nashville at all. I know he is the best d-man right now but he can stay in the bankrupted Nashville. I don't want any part of it at this point...

Given what Weber did - why, as Nashville, are you rewarding him for his behavior with a NMC?

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Given what Weber did - why, as Nashville, are you rewarding him for his behavior with a NMC?

I'm not defending Weber at all. Both sides F'd up! Just that the issue is a NMC when theres a 100 million (or whatever) on the table? Weber is an idiot for asking for it and Nashville is an idiot for just not saying "what the hell, here ya go big guy"...

(the Flyers will pick Weber up a few years down the road after Nashvill's bankrupcy proceedings...)

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I'm not defending Weber at all. Both sides F'd up! Just that the issue is a NMC when theres a 100 million (or whatever) on the table? Weber is an idiot for asking for it and Nashville is an idiot for just not saying "what the hell, here ya go big guy"...

(the Flyers will pick Weber up a few years down the road after Nashvill's bankrupcy proceedings...)

I think Nashville would be insane to give him the NMC.

And I broke this down in another thread but...

Say you have $100,000 and someone said you needed to invest $1,300 right now and $1,300 next July for a vital piece of machinery for your business that you expect will be an important part for the next ten years and without which your company's overall value will be severely adversely affected.

Do you spend the $2,600 even though it might have been off budget for you?

That's spending $26,000,000 for a person with $1,000,000,000.

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if we're going to go there... why did they 'reward' him by matching the offer sheet?

Go where? They decided to keep an important part of their team rather than see it taken from them. That's not a "reward" - that's a business decisions.

Would the Flyers do the same with Giroux? (with the caveat that, of course, the Flyers would never be in the same position because, well, they're totally awesome).

Giving a partner in an agreement ADDITIONAL consideration AFTER the agreement is signed is a "reward."

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My question...if he wanted a NTC/NMC why did he not negotiate one into the offer sheet he signed with the Flyers? Maybe this is oversimplifying things but all the Predators had to do was match what the Flyers were offering which they did. If that did not include a NTC/NMC then too bad.

the reason that Weber's agent gave was that it was not entirely clear if they were allowed to under the CBA. now.. why they couldn't ask the league this before signing.. i have no idea. but, it seems like he had a handshake agreement that they flyers would honor a NTC/NMC. it really seems to me that Weber, his camp, and the Flyers thought there was no way Nashville could match that deal.

the only thing that will happen here is that he'll sign sooner or later. he stands to lose the most here. he's not going to hold out.

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Go where? They decided to keep an important part of their team rather than see it taken from them. That's not a "reward" - that's a business decisions.

Would the Flyers do the same with Giroux? (with the caveat that, of course, the Flyers would never be in the same position because, well, they're totally awesome).

Giving a partner in an agreement ADDITIONAL consideration AFTER the agreement is signed is a "reward."

well, what i mean by 'go there' is to accuse Weber of being a prima donna. it seems that you and others are 'going there'. he wanted a NTC/NMC and he appears to have had a handshake deal with the flyers. from his perspective, it doesn't make much sense that the Preds wouldn't want to double down on their PR investment in keeping him with a NMC.

frankly, i don't know why this is such a huge deal. it seems that it would make sense for both parties. unless, of course, Nashville's match move really was a PR move and they plan on trading him in a year's time. if that's the case, Nashville's ownership is dumber than anyone fathomed.

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My over all thought is this, it seems we may actually be lucky NOT to have him if this is the contract drama he was bringing with him... It actually makes me wonder who's side I'm on in the whole CBA issue...

who's creating the drama? he wants a NMC, why don't they give it to him? they just plunked down the first $15m of a guaranteed $27m in the first year of his contract. should it really be a huge deal to give your franchise player a NMC!? i mean.. come on.. that shouldn't even be news. the fact that they won't give him what he's asked for is *why* it's news.

that would seem to implicate the preds org for creating this drama. i think it's just fashionable to accuse players of being drama queens when they get the big payday. i don't get it.

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I here what your saying Bak, but Weber should just sign the contract. If Nashville is upset then do one of two things (actually 3) 1- give the guy the NMC. 2- Null and void the offer sheet and let him come to Philly. 3- Hold out and see who blinks first. Drama is probably to strong a word but I thought that the Flyers made there offer and Nashville matched it. What's the debate about between them? If the Flyers didn't have a NMC in their offer then Nashville shouldn't need to offer one nor should Weber be asking for one. Seems like a bit of drama for Nashville when there shouldn't be any...

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My question...if he wanted a NTC/NMC why did he not negotiate one into the offer sheet he signed with the Flyers?

I'm not sure of this, but I have read that any NMC/NTC in the offer sheet does not carry over if the team matches. They only have to match the dollar amount and term. So Nashville wouldn't be bound by any such clause that the Flyers may have offered.

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I here what your saying Bak, but Weber should just sign the contract. If Nashville is upset then do one of two things (actually 3) 1- give the guy the NMC. 2- Null and void the offer sheet and let him come to Philly. 3- Hold out and see who blinks first. Drama is probably to strong a word but I thought that the Flyers made there offer and Nashville matched it. What's the debate about between them? If the Flyers didn't have a NMC in their offer then Nashville shouldn't need to offer one nor should Weber be asking for one. Seems like a bit of drama for Nashville when there shouldn't be any...

at the very least, it's all very curious. Nashville made their grand statement that they were committing to the fans and keeping their marquee players. they reached deep(very very very deep) and decided to match the outrageous offer that Homer put on the table and Shea signed.

now, we've already been through the ringer a few times about whether they *should* have matched or not. But, for the reasons they said they decided to match, you would think a NMC would just be a gimme at that point.

let's remember that it's Nashville that is refusing to give him a NMC. i don't understand the finger pointing in Shea's direction about this. frankly, it's kinda awkward and kinda weird. if i'm a Preds fan, it actually makes me question their commitment. are they going to turn around and trade him in a year!? as crazy and stupid as that would be, it makes you wonder. for Shea, it's just added insurance that he stays a pred and that if they do come to want to trade him he has location certainty. certainly a player of his caliber who just signed a long term commitment deserves that. no?

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at the very least, it's all very curious. Nashville made their grand statement that they were committing to the fans and keeping their marquee players. they reached deep(very very very deep) and decided to match the outrageous offer that Homer put on the table and Shea signed.

now, we've already been through the ringer a few times about whether they *should* have matched or not. But, for the reasons they said they decided to match, you would think a NMC would just be a gimme at that point.

let's remember that it's Nashville that is refusing to give him a NMC. i don't understand the finger pointing in Shea's direction about this. frankly, it's kinda awkward and kinda weird. if i'm a Preds fan, it actually makes me question their commitment. are they going to turn around and trade him in a year!? as crazy and stupid as that would be, it makes you wonder. for Shea, it's just added insurance that he stays a pred and that if they do come to want to trade him he has location certainty. certainly a player of his caliber who just signed a long term commitment deserves that. no?

Nashville isn't "refusing" to give him a NMC. Weber is demanding something be added to an agreement that was already concluded.

That's the defintion of a "prima donna" in my book.

YMMV

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Well, if Bak is right then the NMC is a mute point. But why not just give it to him considering the amount of money they just threw at him to KEEP him. Doesn't make sense unless you believe they do want to get rid of him and that they found a loophole to avoid the matching offer. Can you say "buyers remorse"? Probably not the case but interesting either way... Maybe the Flyers have a deal worked out and the Preds don't want the NTC/NMC getting in the way. Now theres a blast for ya!

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