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Fantasy Impact: Weber Signs Offer Sheet with Flyers

(7/19/12) In a move that could potentially cause an earthquake to the fantasy landscape, Shea Weber inked 14-year, $100 million offer sheet with the Philadelphia Flyers Thursday.  The Predators have one week to either match the offer, or let Weber walk and receive the  Flyers' next four first round draft picks.   

Should the Preds let Weber go, perhaps the players most affected would be each team's goalie, Pekka Rinne and Ilya Bryzgalov.  Rinne's value would take a massive hit, especially considering the Predators already lost Ryan Suter through free agency this summer.  Without his pair of superstar D-men in front of him his win total would take a nosedive, as would his GAA.  The loss would be felt up and down the roster, but the man between the pipes would almost surely be the hardest hit.

And it's the opposite for Bryzgalov, who would suddenly have one of the league's best (if not the best) defensemen manning the zone in front of him.  Bryzgalov's win total and GAA would certainly improve, and he would jolt up the fantasy rankings if the transaction goes through.  Of course, that's a rather simplistic view, and many other players on both rosters would be affected.  But let's just pump the brakes for a second before we go any deeper or start analyzing any further ramifications.  

We have to believe the Preds will match the offer.  If they don't, it could be the death blow to the small-market franchise.  Losing both Suter and Weber is something Preds fans might not be able to stomach, meaning attendance would likely go into the tank, and by the time the team is able to re-stock with all those draft picks, the franchise might be playing in another city.  As well, Nashville GM David Poile will be motivated by self-preservation.  If he lets Weber go, the team will almost certainly go through a period of prolonged losing rebuilding, meaning his own job will be at stake.  Overall, even if he thinks the best thing for the long-term of the franchise is to take the picks and move on, in today's NHL GMs simply don't have that kind of time, and Poile is certainly aware of his own vulnerability.  

At the end of the day, there are simply too many reasons why the Preds must match the offer.  We can't go as far as to guarantee it will happen, but Flyers fans should probably keep their excitement in check.

UPDATE: The Predators have indeed matched the Flyers' offer-sheet.  Shea Weber will remain in Nashville for years to come.