Well, this was a fantastic way to wake up this morning. And by "fantastic" I actually mean "horrifying." I've seen a bunch of questions on this already, so I figured I'd go through everything here.
1) OK, what happens now?
The Nashville Predators have seven days to match the deal. If they match the deal, it's the exact contract he signed with Philadelphia, then he simply returns to Nashville as though the Predators negotiated the deal and he signed it. The Flyers will not have to give up any compensation. If the Predatora decide not to match, however, then Weber's 14-year deal with the Flyers becomes valid and Philadelphia forfeits four first round draft picks (their next four, consecutively) in exchange.
Join me after the jump for more.2) Does this mean Weber wants out of Nashville?
Not exactly. Weber and the Predators were in talks over a contract, but obviously nothing got done. Weber probably wants a huge, front-loaded contract while it was still protected by the CBA and the Flyers have the cash to do just that. Remember, if you're paying a guy $20-million in the first year of a long-term deal, his cap hit might only be $7-million, but the team still has to pay the exact salary. Some teams can't afford to do this (see, New Jersey Devils in the Zach Parise situation). So while this move guarantees that Weber would play in Philadelphia, it doesn't mean he neccisarily wants to leave Nashville. He just wanted this deal.
3) Can the Predators trade Weber's rights now?
No. At the start of next year Weber can only be on two teams, the Flyers or the Predators. The Predators can either match (they keep him) or not (Philadelphia gets him). Those are the only options. The Predators can keep him and then trade him down the road, but that's unlikely.
4) Why wouldn't the Predators match?
Let me be clear about something here, I would be shocked (read: astounded) if Nashville let him walk. Four first round picks (that would all be in the 20's, you would assume) isn't anywhere near the haul the Predators could have gotten for him. However, it's worth noting that with a new CBA coming around, those are a lot of guaranteed dollars for a whole hell of a lot of years. Nashville could balk at the deal, decide they don't feel like guaranteeing Weber a deal when there might not be a season and let him and his truck of money drive away. Again, unlikely, but it could happen.
5) What happens if the Predators walk?
Deep breaths. The Flyers would become a whole hell of a lot better. They would be, intelligently, solving one of their biggest issues (defense) while adding a lethal power play threat. They would become hands-down favorites in the Atlantic, and they would force Glen Sather's hand a little in the sense that he would have to also find a way to upgrade his club. We will get into more detail about this if it happens. For now, let's wait and see.
6) Was Sather in on Weber at all?
Yes, according to reports the Rangers and Predators had serious trade discussions revolving around the coveted defenseman. But it's likely the Predators wanted the likes of Chris Kreider and most certianly Ryan McDonagh. Sather, I'm sure, balked at both and the two sides probably didn't come very close. To be fair, it doesn't sound like any team did come very close. And, personally, I would have loved to see Weber on Broadway, but not at the expense of Kreider or McDonagh. As I speculated last week: Would his price tag be worth it?
7) If Nashville elects to match, does this deal impact the Rangers at all?
My guess would be yes. Even if the Predators keep Weber this still sends shockwaves through the Atlantic. The Flyers are thisclose to making their team MUCH better, and obviously are willing to do whatever it takes. Remember, the Flyers haven't been too keen on draft picks and youth. The Rangers' ideology is the opposite. It worked better for New York last year. But the point remains the same, the Atlantic is improving. This doesn't mean Sather needs to panic-deal for Rick Nash -- remember, this is exactly what Scott Howson has been waiting for. Sather can still stay patient, he would just need to look outside the box a little.
Deep breaths. Thoughts?