Nashville Predators v Vancouver Canucks - Game Five

Report: Philadelphia, Shea Weber agree on a 14-year offer sheet


According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, the Nashville Predators had been talking to multiple teams including the Detroit Red Wings, San Jose Sharks, New York Rangers, and the Philadelphia Flyers about the possibility of trading restricted free agent Shea Weber. However, it seems the Flyers got tired of waiting.

Philly wants Weber, and apparently Weber wouldn’t mind wearing a Flyers uniform. Dreger is reporting that Philadelphia and the All-Star defenseman have agreed to a 14-year deal upwards of $100 million.

Before Flyers fans take to the streets in celebration, keep in mind that there’s one very big sticking point: the Nashville Predators will have a week to match this offer. If they choose to let him go, the Flyers will be forced to compensate Nashville with draft picks.

As we previously mentioned, Predators GM David Poile and the team’s ownership would be in for a huge backlash from the fans if they allowed Weber to walk, especially after their inability to re-sign Ryan Suter earlier this month.

On top of that, the Nashville Predators are currently $13,345,833 million under the salary floor with 18 players penciled in for their 2012-13 roster, according to Cap Geek. So not only do they have the space to afford this massive contract, they actually kind of need it just to get closer to the floor.

In some ways, this might turn out to be the Flyers handing the Predators the mother of all gifts. All Nashville has to do is match it and it’ll get him for the rest of his career.

That being said, maybe they’ll decide that this contract is too rich for them, even after factoring in their salary floor concerns. One consideration is that the contract is believed to be heavily frontloaded. If Nashville accepts the deal, they could have to pay Weber $26 million over the course of a single calender year.

One way or another, we’ll find out soon enough.

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