Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Stephen Weiss Jersey Card

It's official: the Detroit Red Wings have bought out the last three seasons of the 5-year, $24.9M contract they'd given Stephen Weiss coming out of the lockout.

The Wings at the time had a dilemma: they could try out team-grown Valtteri Filppula in the second-line center spot so that Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg could play together, or look at the free agent market for a better option.

One such option was the Florida Panthers' long-time first-line center (and four-time leading scorer) Weiss, coming off a sub-par season where he'd suffered a wrist injury. They chose the former fourth-overall pick (2001) from Toronto over the homegrown Finn and, well, have paid dearly since.

I'll be the first to say it isn't fair to look at it from a purely statistical standpoint; of course, at a $4.9M cap hit, 4 points in 26 games (2013-14) and 25 in 52 games (2014-15) looks awful, particularly coupled with a -6 over the two seasons. But it's also and mostly due to the 86 games missed to various injuries, coupled with the desire to prove his worth and playing while affected by injuries that ended up hurting his statistical line - and the team, when it comes to playing at less than 100% when others might be better-suited to play.

It's hard to imagine the two-time 60-point center ever getting back to that level, what with a long history of injuries, having passed the age of 30, and the wealth of young talent entering the league each year, but on a team where the third line is expected to provide some secondary scoring and have some level of talent, I could see him hovering between 25 and 40 points for another three years. At a low cost, probably.

Here he is, from far better days, when he wore the alternate captain's ''A'' with the Panthers, from Upper Deck's 2010-11 Series 1 collection (card #GJ-WE of the UD Game Jersey sub-set), showing him wearing Florida's white (away) uniform, with a black game-worn swatch enclosed:
If all else fails, he could always try his luck with the Arizona Coyotes...

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