Weber Signs Offer Sheet with Flyers

AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

Big news today as hard-nosed defenseman Shea Weber has signed an offer sheet with the Philadelphia Flyers. The offer: a 14-year deal worth a total of $110 million. It also includes a $68 million bonus for the first six years.

Weber, the 26 year-old who has played his entire 7 NHL season with the Nashville Predators, could possibly be locked up by the Flyers until he is 40 years of age. That is of course, if the Predators do not make a counter offer within 7 days.

The Predators have had a disastrous off-season. Earlier losing out on the Zach Parise sweepstakes, but they have also lost out on re-signing defenseman Ryan Suter. A team that has seen recent success during the regular season and in the playoffs, if they lose their last big name defenseman in Weber, you can surely consider them to be in a rebuilding year, or potentially years.

One positive for the Predators if they so choose not to counter the Flyers’ offer, they will receive draft picks tied to the average per-year cap hit of the offer sheet. The equivalent would be four first round draft picks.

Predators General Manager David Poile replied to the situation with, “We have stated previously that, should a team enter into an offer sheet with Shea, our intention would be to match and retain Shea. Our ownership has provided us with the necessary resources to build a Stanley Cup-winning team. Due to the complexity of the offer sheet, we will take the appropriate time to review and evaluate it and all of its ramifications in order to make the best decision for the Predators in both the short and long-term. We do not anticipate any further comments on this situation until we make our decision within the next seven days.”

Swallowing the loss of Weber is a tough gulp to swallow, but one that may work out in the best interest of the Predators. With a potential of four first round draft picks, the team can begin to rebuild their defensive core around a solid netminder in Pekka Rinne. Surely the team will suffer for a few years, but they can be back in it with a potentially stronger and younger team for years to come after.

The Flyers on the other hand, will surely see a decline after this upcoming season. Currently already having injured and potentially retired Chris Pronger signed for another 5 years at just under 5 million a year, the Flyers also face a lot of signing between this year and through the 2014-2015 season. Players such as Jakub Voracek (RFA 2012), Wayne Simmonds (RFA 2013), Ruslan Fedotenko (UFA 2013), Scott Hartnell (UFA 2013), Kimmo Timonen (UFA 2013), Brayden Schenn (RFA 2014) and Claude Giroux (RFA 2014). In looking at the numbers, it will not be easy to keep the current team intact.

The Flyers may prosper in the signing of Weber, at least for the upcoming season. Faced with tough decisions after that, expect the Flyers to slowly fall of the face off the competitive team realm.

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