Shea Weber

Weber the latest in Philly’s history of offer sheets

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The Philadelphia Flyers shook up the NHL by signing Nashville’s Shea Weber to a 14-year, $110 million offer sheet.

At 26, Weber’s already a two-time Norris Trophy finalist and in the prime of his career, a big reason why the Flyers broke the bank to acquire his services.

While the financials and term of Weber’s deal may seem outlandish, it’s hardly the first time Philadelphia’s been wildly aggressive in its pursuit of a restricted free agent.

Here’s a recap of the Chris Gratton scenario of 1997, from USA Today:

This one got messy. The Philadelphia Flyers offered Tampa Bay Lightning center Chris Gratton a five-year, $16.5 million deal with a $9 million signing bonus. The Blackhawks said they had made a deal to acquire Gratton by trade and the Lightning, who were up for sale, argued that the Flyers’ faxed offer sheet was invalid because it was smudged. The case went to arbitration and the Flyers prevailed. But the teams essentially worked out a trade.

The Lightning didn’t match the offer and the Flyers sent Mikael Renberg and Karl Dykhuis to reacquire the four first-round picks they gave up. Gratton didn’t work out in Philadelphia and was traded back to Tampa Bay for Renberg in December 1998.

That was the first offer sheet of Bobby Clarke’s tenure as Flyers GM, but it wouldn’t be the last.

In 2006, Philadephia faced uncertainty at center with Keith Primeau sidelined by concussion and contemplating retirement. For insurance, Clarke targeted Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler and signed him to a one-year, $1.9 million deal.

This was the first offer sheet of the post-lockout CBA and though the deal was relatively inexpensive, it made waves because A) Kesler was only 22, B) he was making $722,000 at the time and C) matching would put the Canucks dangerously close to the $44 million salary cap ceiling.

Clarke came under fire for the move, but shot back at his critics.

“We all have the same cap,” he told CBC. “We all operate in the same world. They had all summer to sign this guy. It was three days before training camp, he’s not signed, we’re going to lose Primeau [to retirement], so we took a shot at getting another centre.”

Clarke followed that statement with a theory on offer sheets that would ring very true.

“This is the first one,” he said, “but it’s not going to be the last.”

Related:

Report: Weber’s front-loaded offer sheet worth $110 million, packed with signing bonuses

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

On the chances of Shea Weber getting an offer sheet

Video: Phil Kessel displays incredible hand-eye coordination on goal

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This has been a tough postseason for Phil Kessel haters.

The supposed “choker” is on a team that’s in the Eastern Conference Final, but Kessel obviously isn’t just in for the ride with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He scored his 18th point in 17 postseason games by scoring the 1-0 goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6.

(Watch that goal in the video above.)

It was a dramatic first period, with a Jonathan Drouin goal getting disallowed and Andrei Vasilevskiy making some huge saves on tough chances.

Can Pittsburgh protect this slim lead with 1-0 down one period? We’ll see, but either way, what a great postseason for Kessel.

Judge for yourself: Was Drouin’s would-be 1-0 goal offside?

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To start the seemingly pivotal stretch, Andrei Vasilevskiy made an outstanding save on Evgeni Malkin on what sure looked like a scary chance.

The play swiftly shifted from the Tampa Bay Lightning’s end to the Pittsburgh Penguins’ side of the ice, and it seemed like Jonathan Drouin scored a big 1-0 goal in Game 6.

As it turns out, the goal was disallowed thanks to an offside goal review.

Here are a few viewpoints on that moment in GIF form … you can get a fuller view via the video above.

The general feeling among those who don’t have a horse in the race is that it was the right call. (Lightning fans were, uh, not happy.)

Lightning coach believes Drouin ‘is going to be dominant in this league’

TAMPA, FL - APRIL 30:  Jonathan Drouin #27 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates his goal against the New York Islanders  during the first period in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on April 30, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Scott Iskowitz/Getty Images)
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At some point, it will probably be kind of boring to hear members of the Tampa Bay Lightning organization praise Jonathan Drouin.

At least if Drouin re-signs with the Bolts after quite the affirming postseason and his ascension amid injuries.

These days? It’s still sort of entertaining.

In the latest case, Jon Cooper was asked to compare the development paths for Nikita Kucherov vs. Drouin. After empathizing with the pressure Drouin carries as a high-end pick (vs. Kucherov’s ability to come in under the radar), Cooper had some very positive things to say about No. 27.

” … So many people think, well, you’re just going to step in the league at 18 and be dominant,” Cooper said. “I truly believe Jonathan is going to be dominant in this league, but it’s hard to do at 18. He had to work through it, and that’s it.”

Drouin, now at 21, has 12 points in 15 playoff games.

In other Lightning news, it sounds like the team will roll with 11 forwards and seven defensemen, an alignment that has been working well lately and also came through at times during the 2015 postseason.

The Penguins, meanwhile, replace Beau Bennett with Conor Sheary.

WATCH LIVE: Pittsburgh Penguins at Tampa Bay Lightning – Game 6

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 22:  Tyler Johnson #9 of the Tampa Bay Lightning collides with Phil Kessel #81 of the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Consol Energy Center on May 22, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Matt Kincaid/Getty Images)
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Tonight could be the final game of the Eastern Conference Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning. You can catch Game 6 via the NBC Sports Group’s television and digital platforms.

Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay (8:00 p.m. ET)

The television broadcast of Game 6 is on NBCSN. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here. The Bolts lead the series 3-2.

Here’s some relevant reading material to get you ready for tonight’s game:

Malkin guaranteed a Penguins win in Game 6

Lightning coach doesn’t seem flustered by Malkin’s guarantee

Kucherov continues to be clutch for the Bolts this postseason

Marc-Andre Fleury: ‘I should have been better’ in Game 5