NHL.com: Poile, Preds thrilled to have Weber long-term

Thursday, 07.26.2012 / 10:45 AM CT / Features
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NHL.com: Poile, Preds thrilled to have Weber long-term
Nashville general manager David Poile believes having two franchise cornerstones signed long-term -- Shea Weber and Pekka Rinne -- will keep the Predators competitive for a long time.

Nashville Predators general manager David Poile compared signing Shea Weber to a marriage. Considering the length of the contract Weber agreed to, it's not a bad comparison.

The Predators announced Tuesday they had agreed to match the 14-year, $110 million offer sheet Weber had signed with the Philadelphia Flyers on July 18, retaining their team captain through the 2025-26 season.

"He [Weber] just got engaged, he's going to get married and hopefully that'll be a lifetime for him," Poile told the team's website. "We just signed him for 14 years and that's pretty well a lifetime and a career for a hockey player. It's a marriage."

Poile said the decision to match the offer sheet was one that involved all parts of the organization because of the importance of the decision.

"It wasn't just a hockey decision," he said. "We involved the business side and the ownership and collectively we went over the reasons why we should do it and if there were any reasons we shouldn't do it. And I think we all came together with the same answer, and that was yes. Because we involved everyone in the organization, I think as they say, we're in this together.

"This [retaining Weber] made the most sense. I think everybody feels they're part of it and going forward we're all part of this team we're going to take to the Stanley Cup in the near future."

Poile said he believes having two franchise cornerstones signed long-term -- Weber and goaltender Pekka Rinne, who signed a seven-year extension last season -- will keep the Predators competitive for a long time, as well as erase any doubt about the future of the franchise.

"Every great team that's been competitive for a lot of years or won Stanley Cups always has had a top defenseman, and Shea is here," Poile said. "You pair that with Pekka Rinne, who's one of the best goaltenders in the National Hockey League, you have a chance every night, every year, to compete. What was not working for us was that Shea was on a one-year contract. That puts some doubt in a lot of people's minds, whether it's our players, our fans, or even our ownership. Now that we have this commitment, we can move on together. I think Shea will probably be our best recruiting tool to get other players to come here at the appropriate time."

Poile also said credit for the expensive decision to retain Weber goes to the franchise's ownership.

"The owners have been fabulous," he said. "Every time there's a tough decision to make, they've always made the right decision. They're making all of the decisions that are helping this franchise be successful on and off the ice. We've seen it in the last couple years on the business side, how the crowds have grown to sellouts virtually every game, to allowing me on the hockey ops side to add players at the correct time of year. This year at the trading deadline we did more than any other team. Now this decision to sign Shea Weber for 14 years, their commitment is right there. This franchise is tracking as well as any franchise in the National Hockey League and that's because of our ownership."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

Author: Adam Kimelman | NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

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