The questions and debates have come full throttle since the Philadelphia Flyers signed Shea Weber to the big 14-year offer sheet. Should the Nashville Predators match? Could they even muster up the cash to do so? Could both sides agree to some sort of swap to give the Preds more than just draft picks?
We should have the answer to at least some of the intentions by the middle of this week, but for now we’re left to speculate. But as things stand right now, letting Shea Weber go may be the correct route for the Nashville Predators.
David Poile let the hockey world know some time ago that the organization wouldn’t be able to handle a big frontloaded contract. With Weber, they’re in a situation with a contract that is incredibly, ridiculously frontloaded. So we don’t even know if they actually could match it.
If they could match it, it could end up hampering this team big time. For an organization that develops so well from within, is it really necessary to hamstring yourself to the max with a 14-year deal for Shea Weber? Even if he is the best defenseman in the league.
Similar to what we see with the Phoenix Coyotes, who defeated the Preds in the Western Conference Semifinals, Nashville has a system that has proven to work. It doesn’t matter who they’re playing against, it’s a difficult matchup every time. The Predators could very well throw in younger guys, like Ryan Ellis, and find success. So from a competitive standpoint, it’s not going to cause them to fall to the bottom of the Western Conference.
One very likely scenario for this situation is that we see some sort of deal if the Predators choose not to match. The deal can’t be for Weber, but the Preds could ship back some of those four draft picks they’d receive from Philly in the deal. We’ve seen it in this type of circumstance before.
If that happens, the Flyers could send back talent like Jakub Voracek or Matt Read, and Andrej Meszaros. You’re getting a very strong two-way player in Voracek, a great young offensive talent in Read, and replacing some of that size on the blue line lost in Weber with Meszaros.
It’ll be a tough pill to swallow either way for the Predators and their fans in Shea Weber is able to move onto the City of Brotherly Love. But when you consider the absurd amount of money involved, and the potential to get some very good young talent back, it could be the best move in the long run for the organization.