Of all the disappointments the Detroit Red Wings endured this season, none was bigger than Stephen Weiss.
The Red Wings acquired Weiss via free agency for five years at $24.5 million in order to replace Valtteri Filppula as their second-line center.
I was excited for the Weiss signing, even more so than the Daniel Alfredsson signing, because I thought it would bring a scoring touch the Red Wings lacked with Filppula.
I liked Filppula, but he never amounted to the 30-goal scorer the Red Wings thought he would be, as the Fin never had more than 23 in any season with Detroit. He did score 25 with Tampa Bay, so it’s good to see him flourish elsewhere.
I didn’t know a lot about Weiss when he signed with Detroit. I knew he was a long-time Florida Panther, and I knew he had some skill and was a solid player at center — not a superstar but able to provide good depth. I also knew he only played 17 games last year and contributed just four points.
However, I figured the rest during the summer of 2013 would give him enough time to come into training camp and be prepared for the 2013-14 season.
I figured wrong.
Apparently, Weiss was hurting from the start of the season and tried to play through it, which ended up making it worse.
He was signed to make an immediate impact, and he fell considerably short registering just four points in 26 games and spending most of his first season with the Red Wings on injured reserve.
I remember the first goal he scored for Detroit in the second game of the season, a 3-2 overtime win against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Niklas Kronwall hit Johan Franzen on an entry-zone pass, Franzen made a rush for the net and took a shot on Cam Ward, who made the save, but Weiss crashed the net like any good forward should and buried the rebound to give Detroit the overtime win.
I was excited to see these kinds of plays from Weiss, but instead, we got just one more goal from Weiss and a number of setbacks related to his sports hernia injury.
On the plus side, Weiss did his job in the faceoff circle during his limited time played this season. He won 51 percent of his faceoffs, which is something the Red Wings need from their second-line center. Ideally, Detroit would like that number to be a bit higher, but winning more than half of the faceoffs is a good start.
With all of that being said, four points in 26 games is not good enough for the contract Weiss signed.
He’s had as many as 61 points in Florida, and I think the Red Wings would be happy with anywhere from 40-50.
He isn’t the main source of offense in Detroit like he was with the Panthers. However, he still has to contribute on a somewhat consistent basis to warrant his contract.
I won’t put this year against Weiss, as he spent all of it injured. But if he doesn’t take the necessary precautions to get himself ready for next year and struggles as a result, I’m ready to deem this signing a failure after next season.