Whoa: RFA Shea Weber Agrees to MASSIVE Offer Sheet From Flyers

Whoa: RFA Shea Weber Agrees to MASSIVE Offer Sheet From Flyers

So that was a boring free agency period in the NHL, no? At least it was from the Philly perspective. Matt Carle and Jaromir Jagr split town, and all the Flyers got in return were Michael Leighton, Bruno Gervais, and Ruslan Fedotenko. Guess we'll just be moving along here...

Not so fast says GM Paul Holmgren, who had an absolute bombshell of a move up his sleeve after all. Out of nowhere, TSN's Darren Dreger breaks the news around 1 a.m. on Thursday morning that Nashville Predators defenseman and restricted free agent Shea Weber has agreed to an offer sheet with the Flyers, and you may want to sit down before you read these numbers: 14 years, upwards of $100 million.

However, don't start dreaming of Weber in Orange and Black quite yet. The Preds have seven days to match the offer, and early indications are that they would try do exactly that.

Weber, who turns 27 in August, is regarded as one of the top all-around defensemen in the NHL today, and putting him on their blue line would instantly stabilize the back end for the Flyers. At 6-4, 234 lbs., the three-time All Star is load of a man who can shut down one side of the ice, who also happens to be excellent in the offensive zone as well as evidenced by the 18.5 goals and 48.3 points he's averaging over the past four seasons. He plays big minutes, he plays on the power play, and he's a leader. He's everywhere.

At $100 million (the exact figure is not yet known), the contract would carry an average cap hit of $7.1 million per year, and the total years and money are not significantly more than ex-teammate and fellow blue liner Ryan Suter recently received from the Minnesota Wild on the open market (13 years, $98M). However, if Nashville doesn't match, the Flyers will be paying a price, one that is far greater than cold hard cash -- the compensation could be as steep as four first-round draft picks.

There may be some debate as to whether any player is worth handing over that much of the future to obtain, but the Flyers do have something going for them in that regard. There is a ton of young talent on the team already, so most of the needs they are anticipating over the next several years would be filling holes left behind from guys they can no longer afford to keep. Of course, that's another issue altogether, how the front office can reconcile another huge, long-term commitment under the always tight cap.

As for Nashville's part, the initial consensus is not only will they match, they must. Puck Daddy points out GM David Poile previously claimed the team would match any offer. However, up until now the team had been exploring trades for Weber, but the Flyers obviously threw a wrench into that plan. Even still, there is also a line of thinking that even if the Preds want to match, it could become a sore spot between player and franchise if Weber wants out either way, or they may not be able to pony up a huge up-front bonus. PD covers some of the intricacies nicely, so it's worth a read if you're looking to go more in-depth.

At this point, who knows what will happen next. Nobody was expecting this at all, especially given how rare it is for teams to go after restricted free agents in the NHL. We're still struggling to wrap our heads around the development at this late hour. Obviously the initial reaction is this would be amazing if it went through though. The Flyers had one of the league's most prolific offenses last season, but there are plenty of questions remaining on the back end. Shea Weber would solve a lot of them. It's a huge contract, it's a huge cost, but it sure sounds totally worth it.

Instant Replay: Phillies 4, Reds 3

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USA Today Images

Instant Replay: Phillies 4, Reds 3

BOX SCORE

The Phillies rallied for a 4-3 walk-off win over the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday.

Tommy Joseph won it with a single up the middle with no outs in the bottom of the ninth. The hit scored Aaron Altherr, who had singled and moved to second on a wild pitch.

The Phils have won just six of their last 27 games. Joseph has had a walk-off, game-winning hit in the last two wins.

In addition to Joseph, who also homered, the star of the game was the Phillies' bullpen. Four Phils' relievers combined on 3 2/3 scoreless innings after starter Jerad Eickhoff exited. The Phillies' bullpen is riding a 19 2/3-innings scoreless streak.

Starting pitching report
Eickhoff allowed eight hits and three runs over 5 1/3 innings. He gave up a bunt hit and a two-run homer to the first two batters of the game but took a 3-2 lead into the sixth inning. He allowed a leadoff single and a one-out RBI double in that inning as the Reds tied the game at 3-3.

Veteran Bronson Arroyo, back in action at age 40 after recovering from surgery the last two seasons, gave up three runs — all on solo homers — over five innings.

Bullpen report
Good work by Edubray Ramos to get two outs in the sixth to strand a runner in scoring position and preserve a 3-3 tie. Pat Neshek, Joaquin Benoit and Hector Neris each followed with a scoreless inning. Neris struck out dangerous Joey Votto on a splitter with a man on base to end the top of the ninth. He got the win.

Austin Brice pitched two scoreless innings for the Reds. Michael Lorenzen took the loss. He gave up two hits in the ninth. Joseph's game-winning hit came on a 97 mph heater.

At the plate
Cesar Hernandez, Michael Saunders and Joseph all clouted solo homers for the Phillies. Joseph has six homers in his last 21 games.

Zack Cozart smacked a two-run homer against Eickhoff in the first inning. The Reds tied the game on a one-out double by Scooter Gennett in the sixth.

Remembering Bunning
Jim Bunning died Friday night. Larry Bowa recalled the impact that the Hall of Famer had on his career (see story).

Up next
The series concludes Sunday afternoon. Zach Eflin (0-2, 5.36) and Scott Feldman (3-4, 3.99) are the pitchers.

Soul hold off Valor in 48-47 win, remain unbeaten on the season

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Soul hold off Valor in 48-47 win, remain unbeaten on the season

The Soul on Saturday survived a late scare and moved to 7-0 on the season with a 48-47 win over the Washington Valor at Verizon Center.

With 41 seconds left, the Valor scored a touchdown and appeared poised to tie up the game. However, a fumbled snap led to a failed extra-point attempt and the Soul promptly recovered the ensuing onside kick.

"It’s hard to win a game in arena football, but we'll take them any way we can," Soul head coach Clint Dolezel told the team's official website. "We are definitely happy with 7-0 and looking forward to this bye week to get healed up and ready to finish the second half of the season." 

Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh led the way with 148 passing yards and five touchdowns. Wide receiver Ryan McDaniel led the team with four receptions, racking up 49 yards, while Darius Reynolds had 54 yards on three receptions. Each receiver reeled in two touchdown catches while Shaun Kauleinamoku accounted for the fifth score.

Running back Mykel Benson ran in a one-yard touchdown while Chirs Duvalt returned a kickoff 58 yards for a touchdown before halftime.

The Soul have a bye week before returning to the Wells Fargo Center on June 10 to face the Cleveland Gladiators.