This NHL offseason just got a whole lot more interesting.
Reported by TSN's Darren Dreger in a tweet, the Philadelphia Flyers and Shea Weber have agreed on an offer sheet that will give the elite defenseman a 14-year $100 million contract. Nashville would receive draft picks for compensation, with Dreger believing the picks will be two first-round picks, one second-round pick and one third-round pick. John Buccigross of ESPN believes it will be four first-round picks.
Nashville absolutely must match this offer sheet and keep the All-Star defenseman. The Predators already lost their No. 2 defenseman Ryan Suter to the Minnesota Wild earlier this free agency. If Weber leaves, the Predators will have blown up their entire defensive core.
Not only that, but they will also have lost all the momentum gained over the last few years. They are finally being seen as an elite team in the NHL, winning their first playoff series and gaining consideration as a potential cup contender. With both defensemen gone, the Preds could be bottom-feeders again.
Nashville will have a hard time keeping Pekka Rinne and any other stars if it lets Weber walk. It will have gone into a huge rebuilding stage that draft picks may not be able to save, thus entering the dark ages of the Predators' young history.
The Flyers, however, could not have made a smarter move. Dreger believes that the Flyers grew weary of their trade talks, and instead of giving Nashville something for Weber, just want to grab him while they can.
Weber could be the best possible replacement for Matt Carle, who signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning earlier this offseason. Weber would instantly make those in front of Ilya Bryzgalov much better, which in turn could turn him into a more complete player.
The Flyers are playing in arguably the hardest division, and though they were able to make it out of the first round before losing to the Devils, having a leader like Weber on the roster could have been the difference.
This deal could change the entire landscape of the NHL. It may not be as high-profile as the Suter/Parise sweepstakes, but it could have a much bigger impact as both teams involved are playoff contenders.
Get ready for an exciting week.
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