A Flyers team source has confirmed the signing of defenseman Shea Weber to a 14-year, $110 million offer sheet.
The story was first reported by TSN in Canada very early Thursday morning.
The Nashville Predators have until July 25 at 11:30 p.m. to match the offer for the restricted free agent. If they do, they cannot trade Weber for one calendar year following the day the offer sheet was submitted. If they elect not to match it, they will receive a package of four first-round draft picks from the Flyers.
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, without elaborating, told
CSNPhilly.com late Thursday night that while the clock may be ticking on
the Predators to "match" the Flyers offer, Nashville can still turn
this situation into a trade agreeable to both parties.
What Daly may be saying is the Flyers and Predators could work out a
deal where Nashville agrees not to match the offer so long as the Flyers
agree to trade certain players in exchange for one or more of the
first-round draft picks Nashville receives from them. In that way, the
deal would then become of a "trade."
Should the Predators elect not to match, the Flyers, of course, would then receive the most talented defenseman to play in Philadelphia since Chris Pronger. The desire to sign Weber to such a hefty, long-term deal all but officially confirms the end of Pronger's NHL career.
According to sources, there is not a no-trade clause anywhere in the proposed contract.
Weber, who will turn 27 next month, totaled 19 goals and 30 assists for 49 points last season, and was voted runner-up for the Norris Trophy as the league's top defenseman. In his seven-year career, spent entirely in Nashville, he has 99 goals and 164 assists. At 6-foot-4 and 232 pounds, Weber brings both size and offensive ability to the Flyers' blue line.
Earlier this summer, all signs had pointed to Weber's remaining in Nashville. But, according to his agent, Kevin Epp, things changed once Nashville's other star defenseman, Ryan Suter, departed for Minnesota.
"It was tough," Epp said. "When Ryan had left I think things had changed a little bit. The team had changed. It wasn't the same team that finished the season. I think [Weber's] No. 1 goal is to have security for his family with a long-term contract."
As for what -- besides the money -- appealed to Weber about the Flyers, Epp cited the team's "stability," youth, organizational history and bevy of talented players.
According to TSN's Darren Dreger
, general manager Paul Holmgren spent a substantial amount of time on the phone Wednesday with Nashville's GM David Poile attempting to work out a trade for Weber. But those talks reportedly deteriorated when Poile made it clear he wanted to acquire Brayden Schenn, Sean Couturier and more from the Flyers.
It's hard to say whether the Predators will elect to match the Flyers' offer. Considering Suter's departure, Poile has a lot to think about. Suter and Weber are all but wholly responsible for popularizing hockey in the Music City.
"It's exciting but at the same time we need to wait a few more days before we can imagine what it would be like to have him in our lineup," Danny Briere told Comcast SportsNet's Lisa Hillary via text.
Weber was selected 49th overall in the 2003 NHL draft. He has served as the Predators’ captain for the past two seasons.