In one bold, swift move, the Nashville Predators have both tied in their future with defenseman Shea Weber and broken the hearts of many Philadelphia Flyers fans by matching the 14-year, $110 million offer sheet signed by Weber almost a week ago.
As Flyers editorial writer Jack Henderson said so eloquently, “Not getting Shea Weber was like unwrapping a Christmas present, seeing a box labeled ‘Xbox’, and then opening the box and finding socks inside of it.”
ESPN NHL tweeted this recently:
The Nashville Predators have matched the Philadelphia Flyers’ offer sheet to Shea Weber es.pn/OXbPgZ
— ESPN NHL coverage (@ESPN_NHL) July 24, 2012
Getting Weber would have capped off a quietly efficient offseason for the Flyers, who continued their youth movement up front by letting go of Jaromir Jagr, traded for stellar defenseman Luke Schenn and signed two veteran defensemen to replace long-time Flyer Matt Carle.
The Flyers were one of the league’s most dangerous teams last season, using the power of great depth at forward to be the league’s third-highest scoring team. Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds and Scott Hartnell are only some of the All-Star-caliber goal-scorers who the opposition has to deal with on a nightly basis.
Dealing for Schenn was also a brilliant move, as adding a quality defenseman was necessary to sure up a unit that failed the team time and time again, especially in the playoff series against New Jersey. Adding Weber in addition to Schenn would’ve replaced the void left by veteran Chris Pronger and transformed the Flyers’ blue-liners from one of the worst units in the NHL to an Top Ten group, but for now they have yet to reach a state of excellence.
The topic of goalies was another controversial one again in 2011-2012, with Ilya Bryzgalov failing to live up to his contract with a horrendous postseason performance that was preceded by a poor regular season one as well. The defense, however, wasn’t necessarily part of the solution, and the team’s failure to get Weber or Ryan Suter could seriously affect their improvement from a second-round exit in 2012-2013.