Per Darren Dreger TSN, the Flyers have agreed to a massive offer sheet with the Nashville Predators D-man Shea Weber...
But will he become a Flyer or is this a play to keep Weber a Predator?
As you all know I have been writing a ton about Weber and Philly for almost a year. I have written that Weber was their one true target. I have also written that an offer sheet to Weber was unlikely because the Preds matching would be eliminating Weber from the UFA market next season.
I can tell you this much... were the CBA not up for renegotiation there is no way in hell Weber signs this offer sheet. There would be everything to gain from waiting a year...but the CBA's timing is terrible for Weber. And now he can't sit back and watch as the NHL tries to eliminate signing bonuses and terms. In many ways this Shea Weber contract could constitute the last of these sorts of contracts...
I have spent some time tonight talking to various people in Nashville and Philly (those who are actually awake) and with some of my best sources being at these two organizations here is how I see this playing out.
The Flyers Paul Holmgren and the Preds David Poile are good friends. These teams have hooked up on some good sized deals, from Forsberg, to Timonen, to Hartnell, etc...
There is no doubt in my mind that Holmgren told Poile he would have to make an offer sheet if he felt that trade talks were stalling. And they had. However Poile has also come out and said he would match any offer made to Shea Weber and financially he can. The Preds were close to not only getting Suter back, but also had a substantial offer on the table for Parise. I was told the Preds were as disappointed in losing Suter as they were that they couldn't grab Parise. So when you look at the money here you have to know it will be less to sign Weber than it would have been to sign both Parise and Suter.
So why would Holmgren put forth an offer to Weber knowing this? Why would Weber accept such an offer?
First off. the numbers reported are 14 years, upwards of $100 Million...I am hearing they may in fact be WAY upwards.
So getting back to my train of thought...
Holmgren and Poile are buds.. Holmgren knows Poile has already stated publicly he would match any offer sheet made to Weber. Now you could say he is just a GM making a statement to try and scare people away...that he can't be serious here...to which I would reply, "Have you MET David Poile?"
The Flyers offer sheet may be exactly what Poile needs to get a deal done. It's far easier to justify a contract of this size when you are telling your owners Philly has offer sheeted him than when you are saying I want to offer Weber 20 million upfront and another 120 over the next 14 years. (just a guess on the contract's possible price range based on what I am hearing)
There are many out there saying Weber signing this means he has said goodbye to Nashville. I would venture to say it is exactly the opposite. Weber has heard what Poile has said. What Weber did in allegedly agreeing to this deal, and it as of yet confirmed, is given up his UFA next season. Weber very well may have just agreed to play the rest of his career as a Predator, and one thing you can say for certain is Shea Weber is perfectly willing to spend the rest of his career in Nashville. That would be my guess as to how this plays out.
Even if Poile hadn't come out and said he would match any offer, having just lost Suter he would have little choice. A source I spoke with reminded me of when the Sabres lost Drury and Briere and had no choice to match Edmonton's offer for Vanek.
If it plays out that Weber remains a Predator it is also entirely plausible that the Flyers, after realizing a trade couldn't be made with them, made this offer to simply keep Weber away from teams in the East they are competing against..
but what if the Flyers get Weber?
All that said, a Flyers source just told me it is out of their hands now, and the Flyers have a plan to fit all that money into this cap...I am hearing the Flyers could be looking to send some serious money to Adirondack to make the needed space for this deal. It is also very possible the Flyers would put a trade together with the Preds which would send some of the players the Preds have been discussing via trade for futures...Of course this hasn't been discussed. Per the CBA, if the Preds match Weber, they can't trade him for an entire year. But they could still trade with the Flyers, a team who has the extra top 6 forwards they need.
If the Preds match I firmly believe this also would open the door to a Bobby Ryan trade..one source hinted this has been holding that up as the Flyers have been trying to make a trade with the Preds.
There will be more to come in the morning or possibly even tonight...
Stay tuned...this week just got interesting.
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. Players are added and adjusted throughout the days as to what percentages I feel their most likely destinations could be. no wagering...