Shea Weber was picked in the second round (49th overall) in 2003 and developed into Nashville's best defenseman. (Getty Images)
Two weeks after the Nashville Predators lost defenseman Ryan Suter to the Minnesota Wild, they could be poised to lose top blueliner Shea Weber.
Reports indicate Weber has signed a 14-year, $110 million offer sheet with the Philadelphia Flyers. The Predators now have seven days from the date he signed the offer to match it or let him go and receive four first round draft picks as compensation.
Dreger also claimed that, prior to this signing, the Predators were working on trading Weber, saying the Flyers, New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings and San Jose Sharks were part of the trade scenarios.
It appears the Flyers grew impatient of waiting and took matters into their own hands.
Prior to this, Predators GM David Poile claimed he was continuing to negotiate with the Weber camp and expressed hope of re-signing him.
If Poile was trying to trade Weber, it suggests either the blueliner didn't want to commit to a long-term contract or his asking price was too expensive for the Predators.
Because of the offer sheet, Poile also can't pull off a “sign-and-trade,” as he wouldn't be allowed to shop Weber for one calendar year from the date the offer is matched.
So the Predators face a choice: match the offer and keep Weber (whose actions suggest he’s not keen to stay) or walk away, accept the compensatory draft picks and try to explain to a shocked fan base why they lost their two best defensemen in one summer.
NO WINGS FOR NASH
The Red Wings are believed to be among the teams Columbus Blue Jackets right winger Rick Nash would prefer to be dealt to, but Blue Jackets management don’t seem to be keen to move him there.
MLive.com's Ansar Khan reported Tuesday evening that a source claimed the Red Wings “made a hell of an offer” for Nash, but it failed to elicit any response from Columbus GM Scott Howson.
It's unknown what the Wings offered up. In a recent interview, Howson said he sought a couple of NHL-ready forwards as part of the return for Nash, leading Khan to speculate either right winger Johan Franzen or center Valtteri Filppula.
Khan suspected Howson's lack of response indicated he has no intention of shipping Nash to a division rival like Detroit.
That would reduce the number of teams from Nash's “wish list” down to five (believed to be the Rangers, Flyers, Sharks, Penguins and Bruins), increasing the already-difficult task of finding a suitable trade partner.
SHARKS STILL FISHING FOR FORWARD HELP
That number would shrink further if San Jose, a team also believed to be in the hunt for Phoenix Coyotes UFA right winger Shane Doan, drops out of the bidding.
Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea.com believe the Sharks need to bolster their secondary scoring, but suggested it “seems more and more unlikely” they'll land either Nash, Doan or former Washington Capitals right winger Alexander Semin.
Kurz cited Nash's annual average cap hit of $7.8 million and Doan's desire to re-sign with the Coyotes as factors working against the Sharks and he doesn't believe Semin would be a good fit.
He feels management “will still likely add at least one more forward,” but noted the lack of depth in the free agent market beyond Doan and Semin. That could push them into the trade market.
Given the uncertainty hanging over this summer due to ongoing CBA negotiations, the Sharks might not find what they seek until some point during the upcoming season, whenever that begins.
Rumor Roundup appears Monday-Friday only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News, Kukla's Korner and The Guardian, Charlottetown.