The Rangers opened up their roster in an attempt to pry superstar defenseman Shea Weber from Nashville. The major problem is that Weber signed an offer sheet with division rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers.
It was reported by TSN's Darren Dreger that Shea Webber signed an offer sheet for a 14-year deal. This deal is said to be worth over $100 million and heavily frontloaded. The Nashville Predators have seven days to match the offer, otherwise Weber becomes a Flyer.
At the present moment, talks with Columbus and Anaheim have come to a stalemate. Neither team is budging from their offers. The Weber situation may pressure the New York Rangers into overpaying for Rick Nash or Bobby Ryan.
The Philadelphia Flyers have a potent offense. Their power play was among the best in the league last year, capitalizing 19.7 percent of the time. They might have just added the league's best power-play quarterback in Shea Weber. Their 81.8 percent on the penalty kill should be boosted with Weber manning the blue line. But most importantly, Weber would bring his rough, shutdown style of play to Broad Street, and the Flyer's goaltending will reap the benefits. The Flyers could leapfrog Pittsburgh and New York as the Atlantic's best if Weber comes to town.
The Pittsburgh Penguins finished just one point behind the New York Rangers last year for the Eastern Conference top seed. They did this with their captain and superstar, Sidney Crosby. This proved to be no issue for the Penguins as other players stepped up. Evgeni Malkin, winner of the Hart and the Ted Lindsay trophies, led the league in scoring and James Neal counterpunched with a 40 goal season. Now the Pittsburgh Penguins are keying in on sniper Alex Semin. If he is acquired, the Penguins would add extra firepower to an already offensively explosive team.
The New Jersey Devils made fans happy by bringing Martin Brodeur back to town. Brodeur, who spent his entire career in New Jersey, will apparently finish there as well. That excitement was short lived when Zach Parise announced he would be departing for Minnesota. Now New Jersey is looking to replace Parise and might have interest in Alexander Semin. With their Eastern Conference team very much intact, and with the addition of another sniper to play alongside of Ilya Kovalchuk, the Devils could repeat last year's performance.
The New York Islanders are continuing to piece together a competitive team. Over the last couple of years, they have been addressing needs. First, they answered their goaltending needs when they brought in Evgeni Nabokov. From there it was finding some veterans to help develop their young stars. Now it appears they are bringing in role players by signing Brad Boyes and Matt Carkner, among others. They took a bit of a hit with their signing when they lost P.A. Parentaeu to the Colorado Avalanche.
The New York Rangers have been pretty much idle this offseason. They lost a few (Brandon Prust and Ruslan Fedotenko) but gained a few in Arron Asham, Taylor Pyatt and Jeff Halpern. Many were hoping or expecting a blockbuster move that Sather has kept fairly quiet. This move by the Flyers could have bullied Sather into making a move and giving up more than he intended in order to keep pace with the rest of the Atlantic.
It isn't time to panic in New York just yet. The Weber deal isn't final, and Semin still isn't signed, and the offseason is still young. There are still plenty of moves that could be made to shift the balance of power.