NHL Free Agency 2012: Possible Philadelphia Flyers Leaving for Shea Weber
Weber's former team, the Nashville Predators, are running out of time to match it. Assuming Nashville does not match the offer, which is a very strong possibility given the financial terms of the deal, the Predators would receive four first-round picks from the Flyers (via The Inquirer).
That might be a hard sell for both teams, as Nashville wouldn't have much in the near future to show their fans and the Flyers would be without a first-round pick when the NHL Entry Draft comes to Philly.
The Flyers also likely want to do everything they can to ensure they land Weber.
That all combines to mean that the Flyers likely will part with some players in return for one or two of their own draft picks (Boston Herald).
These are the more likely candidates to be sent to the Predators, excluding players not certain to be NHL players next season, and how likely they are to be playing in Nashville next year.
Sean Couturier, Brayden Schenn, Luke Schenn
These three guys get grouped together because they're all guys Nashville wants, but probably can't have.
Every team that tries to trade with the Flyers is and should be interested in Sean Couturier.
His two-way game at such a young age is beyond impressive, as his upside. He has a chance to be a very special player in the NHL at best, and at worst, he'll always be at least a solid checking forward.
Couturier is an important part of the Flyers present and future plans, but he's also their most valuable trade asset.
Nashville will definitely ask for Couturier in return for not matching Weber's offer sheet, and the Flyers will almost certainly decline.
Brayden Schenn seems to find himself in the same boat in regards to trade rumors.
A highly touted prospect that the Flyers got to see in a limited role last year, Brayden is poised to break out this season.
Brayden has displayed the toughness and skill that Flyers fans love, and he also has the potential to be a star player. His brother, Luke Schenn, is another highly regarded young player.
Unlike the other two, Luke could step into Nashville as a potential replacement to Weber in the lineup.
They are by no means equals, but Luke brings a physical presence to the defense and has the chance of developing into a lock down defenseman.
The Flyers are equally unlikely to trade either of the Schenns, as along with Couturier they figure to be part of the core for the Flyers for years to come. But Weber is also a big part of the Flyers plans, and there's a slight chance that one of these guys could be leaving.
It's very unlikely, but there's at least a small chance the Flyers wave goodbye to their phenomenal young talent.
Matt Read is in a different category than the guys in the previous slide because he's far more expendable.
Read led all rookies in goals last year and spent time showcasing his two-way talents on the penalty kill.
He's a good young player, no question, but at age 26 he doesn't offer quite as much upside as the other guys.
It also doesn't help that his trade value around the league isn't quite as high. He's still unlikely to be moved, but if that is what it would take to make Nashville let go of Weber, it's likely the Flyers would strongly consider it.
I see Read as unlikely more because Nashville probably won't be quite as interested in him. He's not a big name, and right now that's what Nashville needs to show the fans.
All in all, Read doesn't make a ton of sense to trade for either team. But he's a good young player that could be part of a deal to the Predators if it means Weber comes to the Flyers.
Andrej Meszaros is one of the more likely trade candidates for this deal to work.
He adds a lot that Nashville could use as he's a young, talented defenseman that carries a solid cap hit.
Nashville will be needing a replacement on defense for Shea Weber, and Meszaros is an excellent candidate to help mitigate the loss.
He's a strong two-way defender that at age 26 still has room to grow.
But the more likely reason he'll be dealt is his cap hit. The Flyers would probably like to trim a little bit of salary in this traded so they can take on Weber's salary.
More importantly, Nashville needs to hit the cap floor. This means they have a lot of money to spend cap hit wise, although they don't seem to have enough to handle the huge amount of money Weber makes in the first year of his deal.
If a trade goes down between these two teams, there's a good chance Meszaros is sent to Nashville.
Jakub Voracek is currently a restricted free agent for the Flyers, but he could easily end up being a Predator in the near future.
At 22, the former top 10 draft pick hasn't really lived up to expectations, but he still has a ton of upside.
He has shown at times that he can take control of the game when he has the puck, and he was looking to have a breakout year this season.
But by adding Weber's contract to the payroll, the Flyers likely won't have much room to sign Voracek.
Even if they have that room, they might want to save it for the long term contracts they'll need to give out to some of the other young guys.
Voracek adds a lot to a Nashville team that is a bit lacking in the offensive talent department.
He won't replace Weber, but neither will any other players in the NHL. The Predators need to find the balance between planning for the future and putting an exciting team on the ice.
Adding a potentially dynamic offensive player at Voracek's age could do just that.
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