by PuckStopsHere on 07/19/12 at 03:26 PM ET
Shea Weber has been runner up to the Norris Trophy for the last two years in a row. He is the best player who is a free agent this summer. As a restricted free agent it isn’t clear that he will move to a new team but the Philadelphia Flyers are taking their best shot. They signed Weber to a fourteen year offer sheet worth $110 million. He is paid $14 million a year in each of the first four seasons. That will make him the highest paid player in the league for now. All of these numbers assume that nothing changes under the new CBA. There are attempts by Weber’s camp to keep this offer sheet from being changeable by the new CBA agreement by making much of the money guaranteed bonus money.
Nashville would get back four first round draft picks if they let Weber go but this is unlikely to produce a player of Weber’s ability. Failing to match the offer would significantly hurt the Predators defence who already lost Ryan Suter to free agency this summer.
Philadelphia is in need of a top defenceman with Chris Pronger likely on the long term injured list for the rest of his career, Matt Carle signed as a free agent in Tampa Bay and Kimmo Timonen now 37 years old. This is their best play to get that defenceman.
Nashville has a week to match the deal. I expect they probably will. If they do not they will have clearly declared themselves to being a small market that is producing talent for the bigger markets and has little chance of winning longterm. This transition has been aided by the liberalized free agency brought in by the current expiring CBA. The Philadelphia’s of the world are making some of the bigger money free agent signings each summer and the Nashville’s of the world are struggling to hold onto as many of their talented players as possible.
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