Could William Nylander come to Philly?
YWT #35 – Preseason, Postseason, and Offseason
In today’s NHL free agent marketplace, we rarely see RFA players receive offer sheets. One that comes to mind, for Philadelphia Flyers fans at least, is the 2012 offer sheet to current Canadien Shea Weber. Weber, whose rights belonged to Nashville at the time, was tendered a 14 year, $110 million offer by the Flyers, which he accepted. The Predators, who had just lost Ryan Suter to a similarly absurd contract earlier in free agency, were priced into matching the offer sheet. At the time, the Flyers were criticized for the move, accused of trying to strongarm a less affluent team into trading Weber to the Philadelphia franchise. Nashville, since matching Weber’s contract, has enjoyed career numbers out of the-… wait, what’s that? Did they trade him to Montreal? And they got PK Subban back? And then they made the Stanley Cup Final in 2017?
I suppose things worked out for Nashville. Weber is now 32 years old, and represents a cap hit of $7,857,143 through 2025-26 (per CapFriendly.com). He has fallen slightly short of his Norris Trophy-winning potential, failing to capture the NHL’s award for elite defencemen thus far.
So the last time the Flyers attempted to offer sheet an elite RFA, the opposing team matched, retaining the rights to their young player. Could we see the Flyers go down this road again?
Notable RFA players that have yet to sign an extension with their team include William Nylander, Shea Theodore, Nick Ritchie, and Josh Morrissey. Could, or should, the Flyers target any of these players? They have the draft picks necessary to appropriately compensate any offer sheet signings, and those players represent some of the best young players in the NHL. Theodore excelled for Vegas, and Morrissey met Theodore and the Knights in the Western Conference Final with Winnipeg. Ritchie is being seen as a good young piece for Anaheim to build around as their core ages.
But the big one is Nylander. With the Toronto Maple Leafs signing John Tavares this summer, questions were raised about the future of the so-called Big Three. If Toronto does lose one of Marner, Nylander, and Matthews, could the young Calgary native be the one left out?
Adding him to the Flyers lineup makes the forward corps downright deadly. Nylander would probably take Travis Konecny‘s slot on the first line, dropping Konecny down to the third. Or Nylander could play with his former Maple Leaf teammate James van Riemsdyk, who inked a fresh deal with the Philadelphia Flyers on July 1.
While the Maple Leafs would likely match any reasonable offer sheet to Nylander, it is a shame that the RFA culture is essentially dead in the NHL.
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You Would Think: The Philly Sports Podcast is brought to you by Last Word On Sports. Kyle Collington is joined by Mike Giletto each and every week to give you the fire and passion for Philadelphia sports. Kyle and Mike are two lifelong Philly sports fans that are just talking about what they love.