Take yourself back for a moment. The Flyers 2012 off-season was relatively uneventful through the draft and even into free agency, there wasn’t much buzz.
That’s when the Flyers dropped a bomb on the hockey world and signed Shea Weber to a massive offer sheet that was worth over $100 million.
Flyer fans were ecstatic.
To put everything into perspective, the team had just come off of a 100+ point season, Claude Giroux broke out with 93 points, and newcomers Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds, and Sean Couturier showed a lot of promise. The Flyers also had smoked the division rival Penguins in the first round. A top-tier defenseman was all they needed now.
They tried, but Nashville matched the offer sheet the Flyers put on the table.
At the time, that was a dagger for the Flyers. They needed the star defenseman and didn’t get him. But what most people failed to realize is that what the Flyers would have given up would be worth far more than what Shea Weber would have brought to the table.
What exactly would the Flyers have lost? Four first round draft picks. Let’s break that one down.
The offer sheet was signed after the 2012 NHL Draft. The Flyers (at that time) would have had to give up their 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 first round draft picks (The Travis Konecny pick was acquired later via trade). I don’t need to remind Flyer fans how Ron Hextall is building through the draft, and has put together an outstanding core of defensive prospects, but that would be essentially non-existent if Nashville failed to match that offer sheet.
The Flyers 2013 first round pick was Samuel Morin. He is already in the AHL with Lehigh Valley and has proven to be a huge physical presence. He is the big blue-liner they will be able to utilize as soon as next season.
Their 2014 first round pick was Travis Sanheim. He climbed the pre-draft rankings and the Flyers took him at the 17th overall pick. That is starting to look more and more impressive as Sanheim continues to make a case to break into the NHL next season.
Their 2015 first round pick is possibly their best yet, and that is Ivan Provorov. He is a force to be reckoned with in the CHL, and will be a huge impact player when he comes into the NHL. Here is his outlook from Hockey’s Future:
“Provorov was one of the best defenders available in the 2015 NHL Draft, and now he is Philadelphia’s most talented blue line prospect. A lot is expected from the young defenseman, who brings offensive skills, good skating ability and high hockey IQ. While Provorov can aid with offense, he plays a 200-foot game and is a physical defender.”
They also would be without their first rounder this summer as well, and that pick could very well be a top 10 pick in what is shaping up to be a pretty good draft.
If Nashville had failed to match the offer, then each player I named above would not be Philadelphia Flyers. Instead, the Flyers would likely be against the cap and struggling to make any moves. That would be the last thing that this team needs.
It may not have seemed like it in 2012, but Nashville saved the Flyers from their own good on this one.
Featured image provided by Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers