Dreger reports that Weber, a restricted free agent, has agreed to an offer sheet with Philadelphia worth at least $100 million over 14 years. The offer comes as Nashville has been faced with a year-long dilemma on what to do with Weber, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent next season if the Predators cannot extend him.
After losing their other superstar defenseman, Ryan Suter, to free agency without compensation at the beginning of the month, it comes as no surprise that the Predators would be entertaining offers even for a player of Weber's caliber.
The Flyers, whose defensive depth is not exactly suspect with players like Braydon Coburn, Kimmo Timonen and Andrej Meszaros on the roster, would benefit greatly from Weber's presence. Team captain and future Hall of Famer Chris Pronger may not play again due to concussion-related issues (The Hockey News), leaving a nearly-irreplaceable hole on the blue line.
In fact, Weber may be the only player fully capable of replacing Pronger in every way.
Pronger proved himself as a force with a big-body presence, tough-as-nails attitude, invaluable leadership skills and a blistering slap shot.
Perhaps the only comparable blueliner in the league is Weber, who has served as captain of the Predators since 2010, been a regular finalist in the NHL Super Skills Hardest Shot competition and proven himself an All-Star defenseman three times in his young career.
Nashville has not lost Weber yet. Since Weber is a restricted free agent, the Predators have an opportunity to match any offer signed by Weber. If the Predators sign Weber, they would be unable to deal Weber for one calendar year, essentially taking Weber off the market for the 2012-13 season.
If the Predators do not match the offer, they will receive compensatory draft picks from the Flyers.
Nashville has seven days to make a decision. The Flyers, whose offseason had been relatively quiet until this maneuver for Weber, have forced Nashville's hand and may have made an outrageous investment in their own future.