Philadelphia Flyers: What Signing Shea Weber Would Mean for the Team

Garrett BakerSenior Analyst IJuly 19, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 08:  Shea Weber #6 of the Nashville Predators waits to face off against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on November 8, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Last night, Darren Dreger tweeted that Shea Weber had agreed to an offer sheet with the Philadelphia Flyers

According to Dreger, the deal is worth around $100 million over 14 years. Nashville has seven days to match the offer if they want to keep their captain. Should they choose to let Weber go, they would receive roughly four high draft picks as compensation.

On one hand, it seems obvious the Predators will match the offer sheet. They just lost their other star defenseman, Ryan Suter, to the Minnesota Wild. On the other hand, Weber was reportedly blindsided by Suter's decision to leave Nashville and may have decided that he wants out.

Dreger also tweeted that lots of trade discussions went on about Weber, which means that management could be aware of his potential desire to leave and therefore may not match the offer sheet. After all, they will be guaranteed compensation with the draft picks, and $100 million is a lot for a smaller-market team like Nashville.

If Weber becomes a Flyer, it would make Philadelphia the hands-down Stanley Cup favorite. This past season, they were without captain Chris Pronger, and they sorely missed his presence on the ice during the playoffs. At 37, Pronger's time in the NHL could very well be over. 

Weber could fill the void left by Pronger as well as any other defenseman in the entire NHL. The 26-year-old is the Predators' captain, and is a menacing presence much like Pronger.

The Sicamous, BC native stands at 6'4", 234 lbs. and skates very well. He has a cannon slap-shot, moves the puck up the ice well, and is tough in front of the net. He would anchor the penalty kill, quarterback the power play, and give the Flyers the edge they had with a healthy Pronger.

Weber had 49 points last season, including a ridiculous 19 goals. He would immediately become the leader on an already deep and talented Flyers blue line.

With Weber, the Flyers' defensive pairings would look something like this: Weber with Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn with Luke Schenn, and Nicklas Grossmann with Andrej Meszaros. Not necessarily those pairings exactly, but it still gives an idea of how talented the Flyers' defensive corps would be with Weber.

And then the depth: Andreas Lilja, Bruno Gervais, Erik Gustafsson and Marc-Andre Bourdon are all solid NHL-caliber talents who are still on the roster. If Weber is signed, my guess would be that at least one or two of them gets traded.

Bourdon is still technically a RFA and could be pretty easily dealt. Lilja doesn't have much trade value but could get moved for a low draft pick. Gustafsson could get sent back to the AHL to continue developing. Gervais was just signed during this offseason, so I think he's the most likely to stay.

The Flyers are already loaded with young, talented forwards like Claude Giroux, Brayden Schenn, Jake Voracek, Sean Couturier, and Wayne Simmonds. Adding an elite player like Weber would really put Philadelphia over the top. 

There is a pretty good chance that Nashville will match the offer sheet and retain their captain. But if Shea Weber becomes a Flyer, it could very well signal the beginning of a dynasty in Philadelphia.