And so, the bad offseason for the Flyers just got worse.
After signing Nashville defenseman Shea Weber to an unprecedented 14-year $110 million-dollar offer sheet the Flyers and their GM Paul Holmgren sat helplessly and watched the Predators match the offer today.
A week ago Holmgren's bold, monumental offer looked like a thing of genius; now it has backfired and blown up in his face. All Holmgren essentially did was negotiate a way for Nashville to keep their star defenseman a Predator for the rest of his career. Holmgren essentially made the gutsiest, most brilliant move in Nashville Predator history.
Nashville had a week to match. During that time, there was no communication between the Flyers and the Predators. Holmgren should've been in touch with Nashville GM David Poile every single day, trying to work out a possible trade for Weber.
Instead, there was no communication, as Nashville's ownership group and front office closed ranks and decided to stick it to Holmgren, the Flyers and big market NHL teams everywhere and do what very few people thought was possible: A small-market team bested one of the big boys with the checkbook.
Nashville played David to the Flyers' Goliath.
Now what for the Flyers?
This summer, Holmgren swung for the fences, offering deals to the two most coveted free agents, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, and failed to land either one of them as both signed with the Minnesota Wild.
Now, strike three.
For whatever reason, Holmgren has been unable to do a single thing right this offseason.
Instead of packaging backup goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and potential star winger James van Riemsdyk in a deal for Columbus' star forward Rick Nash, Holmgren sent Bobrovsky to Columbus for peanuts and traded van Riemsdyk to Toronto for Luke Schenn, who is at best a fourth or fifth defenseman.
He refused to think of a plan B should he have been unable to land Parise and, in doing so, allowed Jaromir Jagr to walk.
Jagr, a very pleasant surprise for the Flyers last season—who put up decent numbers but, more importantly, helped mentor Claude Giroux into NHL stardom—signed with the Dallas Stars noting afterwards that lack of communication from the Flyers indicated to him they did not want him to return.
As the Flyers held their breath waiting for the time to run out on Nashville matching their offer to Weber, the New York Rangers worked a deal with Columbus for Rick Nash in which the Rangers gave up very little and landed a star offensive dynamo in return. The Flyers' chief divisional rival got better while the Flyers got worse.
Of course it could still get worse if free agent forward Shane Doan also signs with the Rangers or takes his talents to Western Pennsylvania and strikes a deal with the Flyers' other divisional rival, the Pittsburgh Penguins.
This offseason there seems to be more bad news daily for the Flyers, and the team that looked like they were making strides towards something big after ousting Stanley Cup favorite Pittsburgh in the first round of the playoffs last spring seem to be sliding backwards.
Oh, wait. They did sign Ruslan Fedotenko and Michael Leighton.
Excited by those signings, Flyer fans?
Parise: Strike one.
Suter: Strike two.
Weber: Strike three.
In baseball, three strikes is an out.
Maybe it's time for Paul Holmgren to be out as well.
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