Nashville Predators v Phoenix Coyotes

On the chances of Shea Weber getting an offer sheet


We’re only going to comment on one of Elliotte Friedman’s 30 44 thoughts, because you should just go read the column yourself.

The thought we chose relates to Shea Weber and the possibility of Nashville’s captain receiving an offer sheet:

Been a lot written about a one-year, huge-money offer sheet. Think a couple of good teams have at least thought about it. Look, if you really believe getting Weber is going to mean giving up four 27th picks, he’s worth it. Now, I know the counter: what if he leaves you after just one year? This is the dicey part: you almost need a nudge-nudge, wink-wink “understanding” that he’s going to stay. And, if Gary Bettman finds out, he’s going to CRUSH the team that does it. Google “David Stern Joe Smith Timberwolves.”

To save you a Google search, in 2000, Stern took away five first-round picks from the T-Wolves (and fined them $3.5 million) after Minnesota GM Kevin McHale secretly promised Smith a big contract in the future if he signed for a song in the present (because McHale needed the cap space immediately).

And that’s the problem with offer-sheeting Weber. If it’s for one year, how do you know he’ll stay longer than that (without meeting his agent at 2 a.m. in an underground parking garage)? And if it’s a multi-year offer, Weber probably doesn’t sign because he knows the Preds will match.

We suppose there’s a chance the offer is so massive the Preds let him walk and take the four first-round picks, but ownership and GM David Poile would get absolutely ripped by the fans for that. Not only have the Preds said they’ll match, failing to get any NHL-ready talent in return could mean a real tough 2012-13 season in Nashville, and likely beyond.

Goalie nods: Niemi expected for Stars against Penguins

Antti Niemi, Jonathan Toews
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Talk about getting thrown into the fire.

Antti Niemi is expected to be the starting goalie tonight in Dallas when his Stars host Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Niemi has, not surprisingly, been given the assignment over Kari Lehtonen, the latter of whom struggled badly during the preseason, allowing 15 goals on 84 shots.

Not that Niemi was razor sharp himself. He allowed eight goals on 65 shots, for a save percentage of .877.

Considering the Stars have a combined $10.4 million in cap space tied up in those two veteran netminders, it’s no wonder the number-one question facing the club is whether the goaltending has indeed been fixed.

We’ll start to find out tonight.

Marc-Andre Fleury will undoubtedly be in goal for Pittsburgh, though that hasn’t been confirmed.


Craig Anderson, the goalie the Senators decided to keep, versus Robin Lehner, the one they traded to the Sabres.

Cam Ward will start for Carolina when the Hurricanes visit the Predators, who will obviously go with Pekka Rinne. The consensus is that Eddie Lack will eventually supplant Ward as Carolina’s starter, but that apparently hasn’t happened yet.

Brian Elliott goes for the Blues versus Cam Talbot for the Oilers. Elliott was excellent in the preseason, stopping all but two of the 57 shots he faced, while Jake Allen allowed six goals on 60 shots.

Steve Mason for the Flyers versus Ben Bishop for the Lightning.

Ondrej Pavelec for Winnipeg versus Tuukka Rask for Boston.

Devan Dubnyk likely for the Wild versus Semyon Varlamov for the Avs.

Flyers want to prove doubters wrong

Jakub Voracek, Claude Giroux
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Jakub Voracek totally understands why nobody’s expecting much from the Philadelphia Flyers. When a team finishes 14 points out of the playoffs the year before, that’s typically going to be the case.

“We weren’t good enough last year, let’s face it,” Voracek told CSN Philly. 

So, no, it doesn’t upset him that the Flyers aren’t considered among the Stanley Cup favorites.

That being said, “it makes you feel you want to prove them wrong.”

The Flyers get going tonight with a tough game against the Lightning in Tampa Bay. They also play Saturday in Florida against the Panthers, before a rematch with the Panthers Monday in Philadelphia.

“My biggest concern would be getting off to a good start,” GM Ron Hextall said. “That’s one thing that we need to do.”

That’s something they didn’t do last year. In fact, they won just once in their first six games. By the end of November, they were 8-12-3 and in a big hole — one that proved too deep to climb out of.

Related: Flyers to start season with seven defensemen