Philly tendered a huge offer sheet to Shea Weber. Will Nashville match it? And what does this mean for the defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings? Answers herein:
If Nashville matches:
•Things stay the same, except Nashville remains without Ryan Suter so they're really not the same because they're now a shell of their former self until he can be replaced. They are not threatening to win the Central again either way at this point, and they're certainly not a threat to the Kings near the top of the West. They will compete with Detroit for 3rd in the division and fight for a low seed in the playoffs.
If Nashville lets Weber go:
•Nashville goes into full-on rebuild mode, though they're stuck with a very expensive goalie in Renne. They compete with Columbus for the Central cellar. But they get 4 first round picks from Philadelphia. Those picks are not going to do them much good though because the Flyers ain't gonna be missing the playoffs in the next four years, so they'll be in the bottom third of the first round for sure. I'm not sure how they get to the salary floor as they are currently 16 million bucks short of it, with 18 players under contract (according to capgeek.com). Undeserved big contracts like those handed out by the Panthers last summer may be in store for a few UFAs willing to go play in Nashville next year.
•Philadelphia gets dangerously close to the salary cap as they were already at 62-mil (the cap is scheduled to be 70-mil next season), but does so by adding another dangerous weapon to an already solid team. They might have just made themselves the team to beat in the East, but people have thought that about them in the past and it hasn't gotten them very far. As for the four first round picks they gave up, I'm not sure they're concerned about that at this point because they did a good job last summer in picking up a few young players in Schenn and Couturier, and while their defense is a bit long in the tooth they probably aren't counting on any of their next four first round picks making an impact in the near future anyway. Weber might be enough to get Philly to a Final (at least once in the next 14 years, for sure, right?). Will they be good enough to beat the Kings? I don't think so. Doughty-Voynov-Mitchell-Scuderi-Martinez-Green (or Forbort-Hickey-Deslauriers maybe in 5 years) is better than anything the Flyers will be able to put out with Weber. More importantly, Jonathan Quick > Ilya Bryzgalov.
So in the end, I don't care whether Nashville matches or not because either way the Kings are still better than both Philly and the Preds. In the end, I think the Predators have to match it though. They have worked too hard to build a strong base for that team, and Poile can't watch it all slip away in a single summer without getting a damn thing (four draft picks amount to very little, in my opinion, when you have been as close to success as they were this season) in return. Expect them to match and the Flyers to go looking elsewhere.