NHL Rumors: Inside the Preds Flyers Shea Weber Trade Talks

By Mark Donatiello

Shea Weber trade rumors regarding the Philadelphia Flyers and Nashville Predators briefly took a backseat on Monday as NHL rumors regarding Rick Nash and the New York Rangers intensified.  Nash was finally traded to the Rangers by day’s end, which, upon the deal’s completion, quickly put Shea Weber back in the spotlight.  Darren Dreger took to TSN 1050 to reveal details surrounding trade talks between the Preds and Flyers after he broke news of the Nash deal. According to Dreger, the Philadelphia Flyers offered the Preds a variety of trade packages before finally making Shea Weber an offer.

The Philadelphia Flyers worked hard to engineer a trade with the Preds for Shea Weber.  Many deadlines and offers passed before the Flyers offered a contract to the restricted free agent.  One such package offered by the Flyers included Matt Read, Andrej Meszaros, and the first three Flyers picks in next years draft.  Read is coming off a fantastic rookie season in which he produced 47 points as part of a wave of prospects that led the Flyers to their playoff run.  Meszaros is a veteran defenseman that could serve as a temporary replacement for Shea Weber.  Three draft picks in the same draft would allow a quicker rebuilding effort than spreading out four compensation picks.  The package is likely one that the Predators would accept now, as they grow closer to the deadline to make a decision on the Shea Weber offer sheet that they may be unable to match.

Trade talks appear to have broken down when the Nashville Predators offered an outlandish counter-proposal to the Philadelphia Flyers.  The Preds reportedly requested Sean Couturier, Brayden Schenn, and more for the rights to Shea Weber, perhaps empowered by the strong interest Weber was generating from multiple teams across the NHL.  The Flyers balked at the offer before extending a front-loaded contract to Shea Weber.

Nashville has struggled to turn a profit despite fielding one of the most consistently successful teams since the lockout.  With money tight and high financial burdens required for the early years of the Flyers’ offer to Shea Weber, Nashville may be unable to match the contract.  While David Poile has consistently said he will match any offer sheet made on Shea Weber, it appears the decision will be less simple than he initially suggested.  The Predators may be forced to attempt to work out a trade with the Flyers, or simply lose Weber for four first-round picks in upcoming NHL drafts.  The Predators have reportedly contacted the Flyers again and will continue to discuss their options as a franchise in regards to the looming deadline for the Shea Weber offer sheet.

The situation between the Philadelphia Flyers and Nashville Predators is a bit more sensitive than it initially appears.  Hockey Hall of Famer Bud Poile, father of Nashville’s current GM David Poile, built the “Broad Street Bullies” Flyers teams as their first general manager.  The relationship between the Preds and Flyers may be strained as Philadelphia flexes the might of the franchise David Poile’s own father helped build.  Because of their history with the Poile family, the Flyers may hope to maintain friendly terms as they poach Shea Weber from the Preds.  In this regard, the Flyers are not necessarily going to mercilessly corner a vulnerable Predators franchise.  A trade is not out of the question, even after multiple rounds of negotiations have already passed.

Ultimately, it is unclear if Poile is bluffing or the Predators are actually financially stable enough to match the pricey offer sheet.  Further, matching the Shea Weber contract may not be best for the future of the Predators franchise.  A trade may be imminent as a means of receiving players and hastening the rebuilding effort, rather than drafting late first-round talent in the next four seasons.  If the Predators are capable of matching the offer, trade negotiations will take on a different tone.

For now, it appears all trade talk is an effort from the Broad Street Bullies to keep the peace with a small franchise they’re pushing around.  By extending options to the Predators, perhaps Shea Weber’s front-loaded contract won’t seem as mean-spirited.  Will the Flyers throw the Predators a bone?  Will the Predators stubbornly match the Shea Weber offer knowing two 12-million-dollar bonuses are due before he can be traded?  Is there a middle ground?

Luckily, the week-long deadline for the Predators to make a decision regarding Weber is almost here. With Rick Nash off the market, expect Shea Weber rumors to continue to swirl.

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