Flyers gain flexibility with Predators decision

The Predators took a necessary and expected step today by matching the massive 14-year offer sheet that Shea Weber signed with the Flyers.

This guarantees that Weber will be in Nashville for the foreseeable future. Nashville cannot trade Weber for this year, but it is plausible to think that they could work out a deal with Philly next season if they absolutely need to be out from under that contract. But with most chatter centering around a NTC/NMC for Weber, that seems quite unlikely. Matching the offer sheet also guarantees that the Flyers do not end up with Weber. From the perspective of those who hate the Flyers, this could be both a blessing and a curse.

While Philly will no longer have the services of Weber for the next decade-and-a-half but now have well over $7.8M in cap space to play with. That means they can go whole hog after Shane Doan and Bobby Ryan. Now that the Weber situation has been resolved, Rick Nash has found a new home and with the Parise and Suter sweepstakes long resolved, everyone’s attention will be turned to Doan and Ryan.

Since the Flyers have the financial freedom to explore every option available, they’ll surely big a major player for each of the right wingers. Ask yourself this. Would it be worse to see Shea Weber in Philly for 14 years or see them acquire Doan or Ryan as a result of missing out on Weber?

For me, the answer is Weber. All day, every day. Facing Weber on a regular basis would be far more nightmare inducing than the thought of Doan for three or four years or even Ryan. Weber is plain old nasty to play against – just ask Henrik Zetterberg – and seeing him on a regular basis in the East would be nightmarish. Obviously Doan and Ryan make the Flyers that much better, but not on the level that Weber would have. Plus, the Flyers are simply a potential destination at this point. There isn’t the near certainty that the Weber offer sheet entailed. Continue reading

Can scoring depth be found on UFA market?

With free agency nearly a week old, the Sabres are still in a position of need when it comes to filling holes left after last season.

Darcy Regier has been quiet in the early going of the free agency period, acquiring more grit and toughness for the Sabres’ bottom six. His only NHL signing has been one for the fringe ($600K for John Scott) and he did make a fairly significant trade when he sent Derek Roy to Dallas in exchange for Steve Ott and Adam Pardy.

Peter Mueller is one of the few right wingers on the open market that could help the Sabres.

Since the Sabres have nine defensemen under contract – ten if you’re counting T.J. Brennan and Brayden McNabb – and a glaring need for additional offensive depth, preferably at center.  The trade market is where Regier is hoping to patch the rest of the holes in his ship, but it seems as if a stagnant free agent market is now slowing the trade market.

Buffalo has been tied to just about any player rumored to be on the block since the Stanley Cup Final. Whether it be Bobby Ryan or Jordan Staal, people have easily drawn conclusions between the Sabres, their need for talent up front and the current trade market. However, the only trade that has been made so far was a balanced hockey trade that brought the Sabres more pugnacity. Yet, they remain very much in the market for help in the goal scoring department and at center. The two needs may or may not be mutually exclusive.

The Sabres are currently in a situation where they may have an 18-year old rookie (Mikhail Grigorenko) and two 22-year olds (Tyler Ennis and Cody Hodgson) on their opening night roster. Grigorenko’s status is still up in the air, but the other two are sure locks. Behind them lies a pair of empty spots on the depth chart. Filling those spots is becoming increasingly difficult. However, there are a few names on the open market who could potentially end up with a contract in Buffalo for next season.

As for finding scoring depth, the free agent market for centers is rather devoid of that trait. However, there are plenty of wingers available who can give the Sabres some additional scoring depth on wing.

If my previous idea of flipping Thomas Vanek to right wing doesn’t fly, which is more than likely, the Sabres will probably want to snag a right winger to settle in behind Jason Pominville and Drew Stafford on the depth chart. Continue reading