Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Shea Weber White Swatch Card

I wrote about a similar card a year and a half ago, and I also had this version in hand at the time, I was just waiting to have something else to say about Shea Weber before I posted it...

Now that he's the league's first 110-million dollar man, the time has probably come. But I spoke at lengths about the player in the previous post, so I thought I could talk about the offer sheet this time around.

First, though, the card: like the other one, it is from Panini's 2010-11 Limited set, is card #83 and is numbered 140/199; the swatch, this time around, is white. By the way, I like those ''old'' Nashville Predators jerseys a lot better than their current yellow atrocities...

Now, the offer sheet...

First, let's remember that Weber was awarded a $7.5M contract through arbitration the previous year; the Predators knew they'd likely have to offer the same amount or higher per year to retain their captain, even more so when their #2 defender Ryan Suter signed a (discounted!) $98M deal with the Minnesota Wild. Other comparables include $7M man Drew Doughty...

I'm all for the Philadelphia Flyers tending the offer sheet. They are, after all, in need of a new top defenseman, what with Chris Pronger's possible career-ending concussion. It was Weber's choice to sign and, perhaps, never again play for the Preds. He did.

But if the Preds couldn't afford to pay him the contract, $26M of which were in signing bonuses and, thus, have to be paid whether the league locks out or not, then they shouldn't have matched the offer. First, it would have added credence to the fact that less established, small-market teams have trouble competing with bigger markets, and owners with deeper pockets. Which is true.

But teams like the Preds dip into the revenue-sharing pool, into which the richest teams contribute. Meaning even the big-dollar Canadian teams, the Original Six and the extremely large markets help poor teams keep their superstars, when contracts make sense for them.

But deliberately taking on contracts they can't handle is just stupid. Like offering second-contract players with no leverage astronomical numbers (Taylor Hall, Jeff Skinner), or giving one-dimensional players like Alexander Semin $7M, or unproven goalies $39M over six years. This summer's been nuts all around.

But the way to keep a leash on players' salaries isn't on rollbacks, it's with the poorer teams not overpaying. When the rich teams overstock on $7M players (keep in mind the cap stands at roughly $70M, they can only have so many of those...), the other teams can stock up on point-per-game players at the salary they want.

Between Doughty at 7 or Duncan Keith at 5.5, the difference isn't huge, and the lowest salary has the Norris. Just sayin'.

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