David Poile and the Nashville Predators are facing the dual realities of today’s NHL.

On one side, the small-market, small-revenue franchises like the Predators can spend their money as carefully as they can and draft as smart as they can to build from within. But sooner or later one of the big boys is simply going to reach over and grab your lunch.

It happened for the second time in two weeks Thursday when the Philadelphia Flyers signed superstar defenceman and restricted free agent Shea Weber to a 14-year offer sheet worth $110-million (all currency U.S.).

The deal also calls for $68-million in signing bonuses in the first six years, which will make it difficult for a perpetually scuffling franchise like the Predators to match the offer and keep Weber.

What is just as difficult to swallow for the Predators is the other side of the dual reality: One of those players they drafted and developed proved to be just as ruthless as their richer competitors. Once Weber’s defence partner, Ryan Suter, left the Predators on July 4 as a free agent for a 13-year, $98-million contract with the Minnesota Wild, Weber decided he was headed out the door as well.

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