There have always been a large number of hockey fans who enjoy seeing the Philadelphia Flyers lose. Today, all of them are very happy because they know that defenseman Shea Weber will be keeping his Nashville Predators' jersey on.
Paul Holmgren, who has played with the same Philadelphia 'flavor' while he has been the Flyers general manager as he did when he actually wore the team's colors on the ice, was beaten by Nashville Predators general manager David Poile in the Weber offer sheet battle.
Homer's highly aggressive move to offer the restricted free agent a 14-year, $110 million dollar deal was front-loaded with bonuses that were intended to make it extremely difficult for Nashville to match. But, they did.
All hardcore hockey fans understand that Nashville's ownership group recognized that they had to open their wallets for this particular player. After losing Ryan Suter to the Minnesota Wild earlier this summer, the Predators simply couldn't afford to relinquish the soon-to-be 27-year-old captain of their team. They accurately calculated that Weber's talent wasn't replaceable and that his removal from the roster would threaten the stability of its fan base.
The ongoing likelihood that Chris Pronger will never be able to play hockey again, due to concussion issues, created a defensive hole that the Flyers still need to fill.
The amount ($4.92 million per season) and length (through 2016-17) of Pronger's 35+ contract, along with the resulting cap implications that are tied to it, have put Holmgren in a tough position. Tough, but not impossible as he found a creative way to pursue one of the National Hockey League's best younger blue line men.
Head coach Peter Laviolette currently has a defensive contingent that includes: Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, Andrej Meszaros, Nicklas Grossmann, Luke Schenn, Bruno Gervais and Andreas Lilja. Promising prospects Erik Gustafsson and Marc-Andre Bourdon, who is currently a restricted free agent, are also counted as viable options this season.
In consideration of the loss of Matt Carle to the Tampa Bay Lightning, via free agency, one has to believe that Holmgren will try to upgrade his defense in some other way now. Will he actually be able to do so before the season begins, or will he have to wait until the trade deadline to address this area of concern?
Ilya Bryzgalov (to a lesser extent, Michael Leighton) and every Flyers' fan wants to know the answer to that question.
Sean O'Brien is based in the Philadelphia region. He has written professionally for over two decades and is currently a Featured Contributor for Yahoo! You can follow him on Twitter @SeanyOB and also read his daily Sports Blog: Insight.
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