If this dominant player actually pulls on an orange and black jersey, it will resurface the Flyers landscape and dramatically improve their chances to compete for the Stanley Cup.
The Flyers want Weber because they want to win the Stanley Cup as soon as possible. That was also the simplified version of why they recently pursued Minnesota Wild teammates Ryan Suter (formerly of the Predators) and Zach Parise (formerly of the New Jersey Devils) this offseason.
General manager Paul Holmgren has moved forward by making a commitment to purchase an early Christmas gift for every Philadelphia hockey fan this July.
The offer to Weber for $110 million over 14 years was made for many reasons. First and foremost was Holmgren's belief that he can actually secure the soon-to-be 27-year-old (August 14), seven-year veteran.
The Predators have until the end of the day on July 25 to match the deal. If they don't, he becomes a Flyer and the Predators would then receive four first round draft picks.
The resulting per season cap hit for the Flyers would be very large. But, the importance of adding a player who can legitimately replace Chris Pronger can't be underplayed. Weber is universally considered as being among the best defensemen in the game.
It's possible that the Predators could leverage those picks immediately in a trade (or in multiple trades) with the Flyers, or with other teams. It would seem more likely than not, that Nashville would send those future hopes (the draft picks) away immediately because of the resulting need to rebuild their team and their brand.
If the Predators do match the deal, which is believed to lack a no-trade clause, Weber could remain in Nashville for many years to come. Then again, he could always be traded at some future point. Clearly, Holmgren wouldn't lose interest in him.
If Weber's name is added to the payroll, the Flyers would need to hope that no other big-money players suffer career-ending injuries during the life of their contracts. If that were to happen Philadelphia would have even less room for error than they do now, as Pronger's $4.92 million cap hit is on the books through 2016-17.
Of course, this is where revised terms within a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) may help teams to work around these issues. But, that serious issue remains a topic to be considered on another day. On this Thursday, everyone who has been hungry for a serving of juicy hockey news has eaten quite well.
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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- Shea Weber
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