Should The Flyers Re-Explore Acquiring Shea Weber?

August 26th, 2014 by Ryan Waterman | Filed under Flyers, General, Hockey.

sheaweber

It’s that time of year again. Free Agency has come to a practical standstill, and the rumor mill is running wild, once again. The hot rumor is a very familiar one…will Nashville trade superstar defender Shea Weber? Back in 2012, the Philadelphia Flyers signed Weber to a 14 year, $110 Million dollar contract, and fans were sure that Weber was as good as ours. That was until the frugal Preds splurged and matched the offer, crushing the hearts of Flyer fans, including myself. Now, that the rumor has re-incarnated itself, and Weber’s no-movement clause is up, I beg the question….does Ron Hextall make a splurge and finally land Shea Weber?

It is beyond an obvious statement to say that the Flyers defense is thin. However, with the loss of star defender Kimmo Timonen, the already thin defense has become paper-thin. While the signing of youngster Michael Del Zotto earlier this week helped, it still doesn’t make up for the fact that Kimmo is missing. Without the production of the Finnish defender, the Flyers lose their power play QB, their top offensive defender, and one of their top defensive defenders. There is not one defender currently on the roster that could step in to Timmo’s shoes. But, the only man who can, is Shea Weber. Weber is a much younger, maybe even more productive version of Timonen, taking into account that Kimmo is 37, Shea isn’t even 30.

Don’t get me wrong, the price would obviously be high….but, well worth it. The Preds would require offensive talent in return, and the Flyers have a decent amount of young, offensively talented prospects that are attractive. Guys like Brayden Schenn, Sean Couturier, Scott Laughton, Tye McGinn, and Nick Cousins just to name a few. These youngsters would all be attractive options in a package heading back to Nashville, but like I said….the price is going to be steep. It would likely take 2-3 of the guys listed above, maybe another prospect and at least one first-round pick to pry Weber out of the Music City.

On paper, that may seem like a steep price, but it’s really not. Well, not for the level of play Weber provides. Weber is a Norris trophy contender every year, he is one of the top offensive defenders in the league, and is a legit lockdown defender. He is one of those “once in a generation” defenders, along the lines of Nicklas Lidstrom. Imagine what the Flyers defense would’ve been like had Flyers brass drafted the Swedish defender back in the 1989 entry draft?  Scary, huh?  Think of that, but modern-day with Weber.

What Weber would bring to Philly, is a breath of fresh air. It would take some pressure off of the offense via both ends of the ice, it would lighten some of the load on Steve Mason, and Shea would improve the play of everyone surrounding him. Weber brings out the best in his teammates, and if given the chance, I feel partnering him with Del Zotto would make for one of the most dangerous top-line duos in the NHL. Couple that with the pairings of MacDonald/Streit & Grossman/Schenn, and the Flyers wealth of young, talented defensive prospects…it could make the Flyers blue line a force for the foreseeable future.

While he is the team captain of the Predators, Weber’s contract signed via the offer sheet from Philly back in 2012, has handcuffed the Preds organization. Making a $14 million salary annually, with a $7.9 million cap hit, the Preds just can’t afford it any longer. In order for that team to have a successful future, they must unload Weber’s contract on a big market team that can fit in his money, and bring back a hefty return for their superstar captain. The Flyers are one of a few teams that would be able to clear the cap space, and provide the type of return that the Preds desire.

In the end, Weber would be an outstanding addition, and add veteran leadership to a young locker room of inexperienced players. I feel that a package consisting of Schenn, Cousins, Lecavailer, Robert Hagg, and a future 1st rounder or two should get the job done. Looking at it from the Flyers perspective, that would be a steal. Whether the Flyers pull the trigger or even approach the Preds about a deal (We all know how reliable rumors are), remains a mystery. But, be assured of one thing, if Hexy can land Weber in his first year, he’ll become a god amongst the Flyers faithful.

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