After meeting with Shea Weber in Kelowna, the Canucks concluded playing in B.C. was not his priority.
The Canucks’ pursuit of Weber began on July 1 and culminated with a mid-month summit meeting, where Vancouver’s management made its pitch at Weber’s Kelowna home, while the restricted free agent, in return, detailed what he was looking for if he was going to sign an offer sheet.
And it wasn’t a chance to play in his home province.
“People assume anybody born in B.C. automatically wants to play for the Vancouver Canucks,” GM Mike Gillis said while co-hosting the midday show on TEAM 1040 Monday.
“I really like the guy. I think he’s a terrific player. I think at the end of the day, the market place really didn’t matter. He was determined to take advantage of the rules that are currently in place and he did so.”
The current rules allowed Weber to sign a 14-year, $110-million offer sheet with the Philadelphia Flyers. It’s the type of “lifetime contract” which may be prohibited when the NHL and its players agree to a new CBA. In its first proposal to players, the NHL had term limits which capped the length of contracts to five years. It seemed it was either now or never for Weber to get the security he was chasing.
The Canucks considered making an offer similar to Philadelphia’s, but believed the Nashville Predators would match it. The Predators have until Wednesday at 11:30 p.m. to either match the Philly deal or let Weber go. If he leaves, the Predators will get four first-round draft picks.
“We felt strongly right from the outset anything that had term attached, they’d match,” Gillis said. “I think with the loss of Ryan Suter and that they were in on (Suter) right to the end, trying to sign him for numbers that resembled what we’re seeing here, that this was their opportunity to match and get a star player for term.
“When you added everything up, it did not look like it was a real opportunity (to get the player).
“I do suspect (Nashville) will match. I think they need to protect their team and protect their marketplace in Nashville and this guy is the face of their franchise.”
The Canucks discussed with Weber the idea of a one-year, $14-million deal. It included a $1-million salary and a $13-million signing bonus. It was a risky plan but the Canucks believed it was the only contract that could potentially land the player. If Weber were to ever have signed such a deal, and the Predators didn’t match, the Canucks would have given up four first-round draft choices. If the Predators did match, Weber was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in one year.
But that was a non-starter from Weber’s side, because if he signed a one-year offer sheet he wouldn’t be able to sign an extension until Jan. 1, long after the current CBA expires on Sept. 15.
“I got the sense he wanted to take advantage of the current rules in place financially and he did that. And he’s entitled to do that,” Gillis said.
“Often times, and I’ve been on the other side of this for a long, long time, players have multiple issues they are considering when they are looking at where to play.
“Where they are from is one of them. But it isn’t the one that necessarily carries the day.
“In this case, financial security, long term, while understanding full well Nashville could match, was a very important element. That can’t be underestimated.”
Read more: http://www.theprovin...l#ixzz21VCbPHE9