Shea Weber is a name that is hauntingly beautiful to Philadelphia Flyers’ fans.
The Flyers are approaching the two-year mark this summer since they offered Weber the 14-year, $110 million dollar deal in the summer of 2012. The Nashville Predators obviously matched the deal, which is why he remains in Music City.
After the deal was matched, Weber was not allowed to be traded until a full calendar year had passed. As July 19 approached (the date in which Weber could be traded), Flyers’ fans minds began to run with the idea that a trade for Weber would happen sooner rather than later.
Now as the NHL approaches the end of the 2013-14 season, Weber remains in gold and blue, and signs point to it staying that way for the foreseeable future.
The fact remains, however, that Weber’s name will continue to be discussed in Philadelphia trade rumors until the Flyers obtain a premiere defenseman like him. Seeing as he had originally accepted a deal and expressed interest in coming to Philadelphia, fans can’t help but believe he is destined to wear an orange sweater.
So will he become a Flyer?
Here is the case for Yes:
Nashville appears to have a bright future on the blue-line. With the exception of Weber, the oldest defenseman on their NHL roster is 26-years-old, including stellar rookie Seth Jones. Seeing that would make you believe that the Predators would be more likely to let their captain go, for the right price of course.
The Flyers are also interested; that is no secret. With the salary cap increasing to $71 million starting this offseason, and the likely retirement of Kimmo Timonen ($6M/year) at the end of the season, the Flyers will likely be able to take on Weber’s large contract.
Here is the case for No:
Comcast SportsNet Flyers Insider Tim Panaccio believes that anyone not named Claude Giroux is an option to send to Nashville in return for Weber, but the price will certainly be high.
Nashville will want defense back if they are to give up Weber, among other things. One name that will certainly be in the mix is 2013 first round draft pick Sam Morin.
Morin has been wowing scouts with his size and play. At 6’7’’, he would be one of the largest defenseman in the NHL, and some scouts compare him to former Flyer Chris Pronger, one of the greatest defenseman in the past 20 years.
Along with Morin, Nashville will most likely want picks and another prospect/NHL level player. Names likely to be brought up in the latter category would be players like Nick Cousins, Brayden Schenn and Scott Laughton.
There are also lots of issues regarding Weber’s contract. The new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) tends to punish teams who offer contracts that are front heavy, like Weber’s.
Weber’s cap hit is the exact same every single year of his contract at $7.857 million per year. However, his salary is very different and front heavy. Between the 2014-15 and 2017-18 seasons, Weber is scheduled to make $52 million compared to only making $30 million over the last eight years on his deal.
Any contract signed before the current CBA that is longer than six years is subject to cap-advantage recapture rules. So if Weber were to retire at some point during his contract, depending on the current advantage of his contract, the team who he plays for may be required to pay a penalty each year until his deal would be up if he played the entirety of it.
The highest that penalty would be is $3.286 million/year for five years, but only if Weber retired before or during the 2021-2022 season when he would be 36-years-old.
That all seems very complicated and confusing without really looking in depth about it, but the bottom line is that it is a huge risk, and it could really hurt the Flyer’s cap space if Weber were traded to Philadelphia and retired before his contract was completed.
So again, will Weber become a Flyer?
The answer will all depend on the asking price from Nashville. If they would accept a deal for a player like Brayden Schenn/Nick Cousins, picks and a defenseman not named Morin, the Flyers should pull the trigger on the deal despite the risks down the road. However, if Nashville is looking to strip Philadelphia’s farm system of its’ top talent (Sam Morin, Scott Laughton, etc.), it is probably not worth taking the risk of depleting the teams future talent.
My personal belief is that Philadelphia will see Shea Weber in orange. With this team currently assembled, the thought should be that the window is opening now for championships. A majority of the top offensive talent for the Flyers is entering their prime, and Weber is as well. Philadelphia will never win a Stanley Cup until they have a top defenseman anchoring their blue-line. I think they will pull the trigger on almost any deal, as long as it’s not ridiculous.
Only time will tell, and nothing will certainly happen at this trade deadline with Shea Weber. There will always be rumors, but some are more substantial than others. This is one that seems to hold more water than most.
The offseason should be exciting, but don’t be shocked if Philadelphia decides to play it safe and avoid the possible risks of a Shea Weber trade.
HartnellDown Tracker: Scott remains at 201.