This news is big enough and rare enough for us to give it its own post here, even though it has very little to do with the New York Islanders (unless by some wild chance they happened to be one of the teams making trade offers for Shea Weber):
The Philadelphia Flyers have issued an RFA offer sheet -- reportedly 14 years and over $100 million -- to Predators captain Shea Weber, and the defenseman has signed the offer. You know this is rare maneuvering indeed in the "you fish on your side, I'll fish on my side" decorum with which NHL GM's treat each others restricted free agents.
The Flyers and Predators have done business plenty of times before, particularly when the Flyers happily take gems off the distressed Predators hands. TSN's Darren Dreger reported several teams were trying to acquire Weber via trade, but the Flyers "grew tired of waiting" so they forced the Preds' hands. Dreger thinks the Red Wings, Rangers and Sharks were also in on Weber trade talks.
The Predators have seven days to match. This way, the Flyers either land Weber or he stays a Predator. They would give up four first-round draft picks or else work out other compensation within the next seven days.
Once again, it's tough hoeing to be a small-market team like the Predators, and Islanders fans should view the path the slow-and-steady-build but low-revenue Predators have taken, as even the best-laid plans can end up with your best home-groomed assets landing elsewhere.
- The Flyers would solve their Pronger problem.
- The Flyers would be either without their next four first-round picks, or else other assets in an alternate compensation agreement. This is a nice way of forcing the Predators to either Avery or get off the pot with trade talks.
- Watch to see how much up-front money there is (signing bonuses payable in the early years), as that may be the best way for the Flyers to deter the Predators from matching this deal.
- The Atlantic Division, which lost out on the two prized UFAs this summer in Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, would end up landing next summer's best prize -- and for a very long time.
- The honey badger Paul Holmgrem don't care, he just goes out and gets things and asks questions later.
- Boy do NHL free agents (and the agents who lead them by the nose) love money. How many decade-plus deals have worked out for the players who signed them?
P.S. Oh, and the NHL is poor, frowns upon long-term deals and would like contracts to be limited to five years. Yeah.