Weber Watch 2012: What If The Predators Can’t Pay Up?
Predators GM David Poile has a week to consider the Flyers’ offer sheet for Shea Weber (Dave Sanford/NHLI via Getty Images)
By: Tyler J. Altemose (@TJamesAltemose)
Many questions surround the recent offer sheet tendered to the Nashville Predators by the Philadelphia Flyers. But one of the more intriguing questions is, what happens if the Predators match the Flyers offer but can’t pay Shea Weber?
The Nashville Predators are a small market team. Forbes magazine ranked the Predators’ value at just $163,000,000 — 25th in the NHL. So with the Flyers’ recent offer sheet of $110 million for defenseman Shea Weber to consider, the question of whether or not the Predators can pay up is a viable one.
The problem teams like the Predators have is twofold. The first part is spending enough money in the upcoming League year that they meet the salary cap floor of $54.2 million. So far the Predators are farthest from the floor, having spent only $40.8 million on 18 players for the 2012-13 season.
The other part is staying within their limits. The Predators only have so much revenue, so while they need to spend money to get to the cap floor, they can only spend within their limits.
This leads to the question, what happens if the Predators match the Flyers offer but can’t pay Shea Weber?
The NHL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement contains a section dealing specifically with contract defaults, which makes this question relatively straightforward.
If at any point a Club becomes unable to pay a Player, they (the Player) may notify the NHL and NHLPA in writing of the default. If the Club fails to remedy the default within 14 days, the Standard Player’s Contract (SPC) becomes void. However, the Club must pay the Player up to the date in which the default occurred. During the remedy period, the Player is not obligated to abide by the terms of the contract.
The Player can also ask the League for assistance. If the League agrees to take up the remedy, the Club would still have 14 days to remedy the situation. If the Club cannot pay, the League will pay the remainder of compensation the player is owed per the SPC. If the Player chooses this route, he must continue to perform under the terms of the SPC during the time in which the Club and League are attempting to remedy the situation.
Finally, if the League decides to remedy the default, it may choose to reassign the Player to another Club.
Given the situation with Shea Weber and the tendered offer sheet, it seems likely that if the Predators match the Flyers offer and are then unable to pay Shea Weber one of two scenarios will play out.
In the first scenario, Weber asks the League for assistance with the remedy and his contract is re-assigned to the Flyers if the Predators can’t pay up in their two week remedy period.
In the second scenario, Weber does not seek assistance from the League and he becomes a restricted free agent if the Predators cannot remedy the default within 14 days.
Source: Collective Bargaining Agreement Section 11.15 (pp. 50-51)