We may not know whether Shea Weber stays a Predator or joins the Philadelphia Flyers for another week. This makes it hard to analyze anything without jumping the gun. But what one can analyze is the money involved.
Through all the excitement from Flyers fans today, the negativity is starting to come out and people have even criticizing Paul Holmgren for “throwing” all this money out there for Weber. It’s hard to get inside his head because he does have a track record of making some pretty drastic moves, but I’m taking a different approach to this.
We all know what happened with Mike Richards after he signed a long-term contract and we all know what’s up with Chris Pronger, so it’s understandable that fans aren’t exactly eager to throw out long term deals.
However, last month I talked about how it’s a goaltender that is going to make or break a team, not a forward. And after the goaltender, defensemen are the most important players to any team contending for the Stanley cup.
Last summer Paul Holmgren signed goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov long-term and this summer he may be able to say he did the same for Shea Weber. These are guys you build your team around and guys you should sign long-term. Forwards are replaceable. But defensemen like Shea Weber do not grow on trees. And goaltenders are almost impossible to find these days. Bryzgalov was given job security to give himself some mental confidence knowing that he is the guy in this city for a long time. And he needs to be the guy.
Just look at Kimmo Timonen. He has the second highest cap hit on this Flyers team and was signed here for 6 years. He costs the Flyers a lot of cash, but you never hear fans complain about it because he has been one of, if not the most important player for the Flyers since he signed here. Just imagine having two of those defensemen. Star forwards will score. Rookies will score. 4th liners will score. But 6th and 7th defensemen are not going to bring you the security that a guy like Shea Weber brings.
The goalie is locked up, and if Shea Weber is next, Paul Holmgren goes from absolutely crazy to a genius. The league may want to get rid of these long-term, front-loaded contracts, but this is definitely a case where this Flyers fan approves of it. It’s a lot of money and years to “throw” out there, but it’s for what matters most to winning.