It's a match!
The Nashville predators have matched the Philadelphia contract offer to Shea Weber.
Preds minority owner Brett Wilson was on prime time sports yesterday and told Elliotte Friedman and Howard Berger that the Preds had offered Weber a similar contract already, within six million.
This tells me that Weber had wanted out of Nashville and was hoping that the Preds would not be able to match the Flyers offer which was structured differently.
What is plan B for the Flyers?
Calgary seems willing to unload Jay Bouwmeester and his $6.680 cap hit, but Bouwmeester has a no trade clause and apparently is not waiving it.
Perhaps promote from within?
The Flyers defensive depth chart looks like this
If Pronger is not able to return (and that is a distinct possibility) The defense needs improvement in the offensive and puck moving department.
Internal candidates include; Bruno Gervais, M.A. Bourdon, Erik Gustafsson, Brandon Manning, and Andreas Lilja.
perhaps the best candidate from that group is Erik Gustafsson who was called up in the playoffs and looked very impressive. He played some big minute games in the Pittsburgh series and against top guns Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Gustafsson produced a goal and an assist in his seven post season games while posting a plus-4.
In the 2010-2011 AHL season, Gustafsson nearly led Adirondack in scoring as a first year pro. He could be a fantasy hockey sleeper playing on the Flyers power play next season.
If the Flyers look towards making another offer to a RFA potential targets could be; Michael Del Zotto, John Carlson, P.K. Subban, or Dmitry Kulikov.
Great news out of Boston that both Adam McQuaid and Nathan Horton have passed their baseline tests and are ready to resume physical work outs and contact. Both players will be in full participation come training camp.
Horton has suffered two serious concussions in as many years and his career was potentially in question. Horton will still be more susceptible to further concussion injuries and is a major injury risk in fantasy leagues going forward.
The Nashville Predators signed Sergei Kostitsyn to a two year $6 million deal as well as forward Colin Wilson to a three year $6 million contract.
The Carolina hurricanes resigned forward Zach Boychuk to a one year, two-way deal. The former first round pick has not been able to live up to his potential and his stock is falling fast. Carolina also signed Jay Harrison to a three year $4.5 million contract. Harrison was a standout for Canada at the World Jr. Tournament but had difficulty staying in the NHL with Toronto. Last season he enjoyed a career year playing 72 games and scoring nine goals and 14 assists for 23 points, second overall in team defense scoring behind Jamie McBain. Harrison also produced impressive peripheral stats; 117 hits, 153 blocked shots, 128 shots, 60 penalty minutes while playing an average of 17:33 minutes per game. His plus/minus was a minus -10 however.
The Toronto Maple Leafs added some veterans for the AHL Toronto Marlies by signing 39 year old defenseman Adrian Aucoin, and resigning 26 year old defenseman Simon Gysbers. The Marlies have yet to resign veteran Mike Zigomanis who is a fan favorite. Hockey Writers Brett lemon looks at what the recent signings could mean for Zigomanis in his article Toronto Adds Keith Aucoin, Fellow Veteran Mike Zigomanis Remains Unsigned.
Toronto also added Steve Staios who recently retired. Staios will join the Toronto management team as an adviser of prospects and players at all levels of the organization.
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By Peter Harling
Follow me on Twitter: @pharling