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Numbers Game: Red Wings reel in Weiss

Scott Cullen

7/7/2013 8:42:11 PM

The Detroit Red Wings went looking for a new second-line centre, and found one that has played as a number one quite a bit in recent seasons.

Numbers Game breaks down the Red Wings adding Stephen Weiss.

The Red Wings Get: C Stephen Weiss.

Weiss, 30, is a reliable two-way centre who is coming off a disastrous season in which he was minus-13 in 17 games, scoring only four points, but his season was shortened by wrist surgery. Considering Weiss' production in previous seasons -- between 49 and 61 points in each of the previous four seasons -- there is a temptation to write off 2013 as an anomalous lost season due to injury.

In Detroit, Weiss fits into the second-line centre spot, a role that seems more natural to his skill set. While he had some productive seasons (back-to-back seasons with at least 60 points in 2008-2009 and 2009-2010) as the number one centre in Florida, Weiss shouldn't be expected to be a top scorer on a playoff team.

Initial indications are that the Red Wings will be putting Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk on the Wings' number one line, perhaps with newly-signed Daniel Alfredsson (if not Justin Abdelkader, who finished there last season), which would still leave some quality wing options for Weiss, including Johan Franzen, Gustav Nyquist or Todd Bertuzzi.

Even if he has strong linemates, it's going to be difficult for Weiss to produce like he did in his peak with Florida because there aren't a lot of second-line centres getting 20 minutes of ice time per game. A reasonable expectation might be somwhere around 45 points, lower than his best years in Florida, but Weiss is in his 30s, coming off injury and likely to play fewer minutes.

Florida could have really used Weiss, because they don't have much proven talent down the middle. 2013 first-round pick Aleksander Barkov, Shawn Matthias and Marcel Goc are at the top of the Panthers' centre depth chart, so Weiss' departure will mean more quality ice time available to them. At least Weiss' absence from the lineup last season helped the Panthers make some adjustments at the position, so this change isn't going to be abrupt.

Signed for five years and $24.5-million, Weiss will be well-compensated and it's possible that, by the end of it, he may not be providing ideal value, but so long as there aren't lingering effects from last year's wrist injury, Weiss should be a fine addition for the Red Wings. He's a year older than Valtteri Filppula, whom he effectively replaces in the Red Wings' lineup, but Weiss should be more consistently productive.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.