Flyers still recovering from failure to sign Weber

Shea Weber
Shea Weber was nearly a Flyer last off-season, but the Nashville Predators snatched him back after Philadelphia made him a lucrative offer.

This is what have might have been for the Flyers.

For the first time since the Nashville Predators foiled Paul Holmgren’s best laid plans, not to mention all but bankrupt their franchise, and chose to match Philadelphia’s outrageous (at least for hockey) 14-year, $110 million offer, Shea Weber comes to town tonight.

Considered by most to be among the premier defensemen in the game, the 28-year-old Weber is noted for a blistering shot from the point and exceptional puck handling ability. That’s why Ed Snider & Co. were willing to virtually break the bank when he went on the market as a restricted free agent following the 2012 season.

The key word there is “restricted,’’ meaning his team had the right to match the deal, which wasn’t the case with former Pred defenseman Ryan Suter, whom the Flyers had previously pursued in vain. While Suter was free to sign anywhere, choosing the Minnesota Wild where he was joined by Zach Parise, Weber was at the mercy of his own team.

Ultimately they decided, whatever the cost, they couldn’t afford to let Weber go, even though it would’ve brought them up to four first-round picks under the NHL’s old compensation program. Ironically, under the terms of the new CBA, such deals will never happen again since there’s a seven-year limit on free agent contracts.

The Flyers tried to downplay losing out on a three-time all-star who would’ve softened the blow of Chris Pronger’s career-ending injury,even though he’s technically still not retired.  But coming up empty on all their moves left Holmgren scrambling to fill out his roster, especially after free agent defenseman Matt Carle left for Tampa Bay.

“In tendering an offer sheet to Shea Weber, we were trying to add a top defenseman entering the prime of his career,” Holmgren said at the time. “With Nashville matching our offer, we wish Shea and the Predators all the best.’’

It hasn’t quite worked out that way for the Preds, who were coming off a 104-point season and generating plenty of interest in Music City. Nashville failed to make the playoffs during the lockout shortened season, going an NHL third worst 16-23-9. They’re currently 20-21-7, 11th in the West, eight points out of a playoff spot and winless in their last five road games.

Don’t blame the 6-4, 232 lb. Weber, though, who has 11 goals and 19 assists in 45 games this season—but missed the Flyers’ November 30 3-2 shootout win in Nashville due to an eye injury resulting from taking a puck to the face. More telling has been the absence of goalie Pekka Rinne, who’s been out since late October due to a bacterial infection in his hip.

That’s forced coach Barry Trotz, who’s been there since the franchise’s inception in 1997– tops in seniority among his NHL brethren—to scramble. It also led to Wednesday’s deal with Edmonton for goalie Devan Dubnyk, whose playing time diminished once Ilya Bryzgalov arrived.

Drafting defenseman Seth Jones, the No. 4 pick and son of former NBA player Popeye Jones, gives the Predators something to build with. But this is still a team that relies on Weber—along with forwards David Legwand, Craig Smith and Carrie Underwood’s husband, Mike Fisher—to lead the attack.

“They have a good power play, especially with him,’’ said Craig Berube, whose club snapped a two-game losing streak in Buffalo Tuesday, 4-3, with three goals in the last 6:32. “It’s going to be a tough challenge. But the best way to defend a power play is to stay out of the box.’’

Otherwise, Shea Weber, the man who had dreams of becoming a Flyer until the Predators crushed them, figures to make them pay.

And give Flyers fans, still pained it didn’t work out, a taste of what might’ve been.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Federal mediator joins Met Opera labor talks as…

Unions representing the orchestra and chorus of the Met Opera agreed to have a federal mediator join labor talks on Thursday as a threatened lockout loomed.

Local

Winning $7 million New York lottery ticket sold…

The only $7 million winning New York Lottery ticket for Monday's Cash4Life drawing was sold at a Queens 7-Eleven, officials said on Tuesday.

Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

Movies

Review: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is a refreshingly…

Marvel is sitting so high on a cash mountain that it's now thrown $170 million at the relatively obscure and very silly title "Guardians of the Galaxy."

Movies

Review: 'Get on Up' is a war between…

James Brown finally gets his own boring biopic with "Get on Up," but the Godfather of Soul puts up a good fight against the usual cliches.

Movies

Review: 'Child of God' finds director James Franco…

James Franco's 11th directed feature is a noble but sloppy adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's "Child of God," about a feral mountain man (Scott Haze).

Movies

Review: Alex Gibney's Fela Kuti doc 'Finding Fela'…

Prolific documentarian Alex Gibney takes on Afrobeat god Fela Kuti in "Finding Fela," but fails to capture his unique essence.

MLB

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade…

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade deadline

College

Playing the Field: Valentine's Day coupling edition

  It’s Valentine’s Day, a day created by Hallmark to make couples spend loads and loads of money on candy, flowers and gourmet dinners. Or…

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

Career

What do you wear to a career fair?…

Getting that gig starts with presenting the most polished and memorable version of yourself, so refer to our expert fashion advice.

Style

Editors pick: Margiela's finger armor ring

These cool rings from Maison Martin Margiela are designed to overlap over the finger, covering each joint like armor.

Style

Givenchy champions diversity

Riccardo Tisci's uses a variety of ethnically diverse ladies for his spring campaign including Erykah Badu.

Wellbeing

Don't settle for the hotel fitness center with…

Travelers who want to skip the hotel fitness center in favor of local gyms that may offer better equipment, classes and amenities can turn to…