Defenseman Shea Weber has reportedly agreed to a 14-year offer sheet worth $100 million from the Philadelphia Flyers, according to a prominent source.
The All-Star blueliner, a right-handed shooter, is a restricted free agent; he gained that status after he did not agree to terms with his current club, the Nashville Predators, after his arbitration-awarded one-year deal worth $7.5 million expired after the season.
Several media outlets picked up the story first attributed to TSN.ca hockey analyst Darren Dreger, who reported the news on his Twitter account late Wednesday night.
Now the Predators have seven days to match the offer. If the club decides to let him go, they would get a package of draft picks from Philadelphia as compensation. At the time this story was posted early Thursday morning, Dreger stated on his Twitter feed that he wasn’t entirely certain of the the number and nature of the picks: he speculated that the deal could involve two first-rounders along with second- and third-round selections (the number and round of the picks is tied to the average-per-year cap hit of the offer sheet).
If this goes through, Weber would be the second cornerstone blueliner to leave Nashville this summer. Two weeks ago, unrestricted free-agent defenseman Ryan Suter signed a 13-year, $98-million deal to play for the Minnesota Wild (former New Jersey Devils winger Zach Parise signed for the same years and amount with Minnesota at the same time as Suter).
The 26-year-old Predators captain had a season to remember in 2011-12, scoring 19 goals and notching 30 assists for 49 total points in 78 regular-season games, along with a plus/minus of +21. The 6-foot-4, 234-pound native of Sicamous, British Columbia has averaged 48 points and 80 games over the past four seasons (not including playoffs).
Weber had been on the radar of at least half a dozen teams and was considered to be one of the most sought-after players in the league. He has been named as a first-team All Star in consecutive seasons. He has spent his entire seven-year career with Nashville, having been selected by the Predators in the second round (49th overall) of the 2003 Entry Draft. His regular-season totals stand at 99 goals, 164 assists and 263 points in 480 games; he has added 10 goals and 10 assists in 43 playoff games.
By the time the contract concludes, Weber would be 40 years old. With this move, the Flyers are trying to stabilize their defensive corps: the club lost Matt Carle to free agency when he signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Philadelphia is also uncertain about the status of Chris Pronger, who played only 13 games last season because of concussion issues.