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Behind The Behind: Stephen Weiss

by on 09/12/2011

Vitals

Born: Toronto, ON, CAN
Birth date: April 3, 1983
Height: 5’11” (180 cm)
Weight: 192 lbs (87 kg)
Position: Center
Shoots: Left
NHL Draft: 4th overall by the Florida Panthers in 2001
NHL Team: Florida Panthers
Jersey No.: #9
National Team: Canada
NHL Contract: 12/13
Cap Hit: $3,100,000

History

Weiss played his junior career with the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL. In his time with the Whalers, he played 172 games over 3 seasons and scored 89 goals and 134 assists for 223 points. Weiss recorded 66 points in his rookie season and earned himself a spot on the OHL First All-Rookie Team. Central Scouting ranked Weiss in the top 5 among North American skaters. Weiss was drafted 4th overall by the Florida Panthers in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. After being drafted, Weiss returned to the Whalers for a final season with the OHL.

Weiss made his professional debut on April 3rd against the Pittsburgh Penguins and notched one goal. Weiss played 7 games with the Panthers during the 2001-02 season and recorded a goal and an assist. On April 16, 2002, the Panthers signed Weiss to a three-year NHL entry level contract.

In his rookie season, Weiss recorded 6 goals and 15 assists while playing 77 games. Weiss participated in the NHL YoungStars Game in front of his home crowd. Weiss struggled during his sophomore season under new head coach, Mike Keenan, and was assigned to the Panthers AHL affiliate at the beginning of October. He returned to the Panthers in November and played well recording 7 goals and 6 assists during the month. Weiss missed 16 games in February and March due to a knee injury then suffered a broken leg that caused him to miss the rest of the season.

Weiss split the 2004-05 lock out between the San Antonio Rampage and Chicago Wolves recording 22 goals and 32 assists.

When the NHL returned for the 2005-06 season, Weiss signed a one-year contract extension with the Panthers. Weiss only played 41 games, tallying 21 points, before his season ended with a severe wrist injury. Weiss signed another one-year contract extension with the Panthers for the 2006-07 season. Again, Weiss missed playing time due to injuries. He still managed to play in 74 games where he recorded 24 goals and 28 assists. Although he played a short season, he played well enough that the Panthers signed him to a six-year $18.6M contract extension.

In the first year of his new contract, Weiss produced 6 less points in the same number of games played in the previous year. In 74 games during the 2007-08 season, Weiss recorded 13 goals and 29 assists.

The 2008-09 season was the first season Weiss broke the 60-point mark. Weiss flourished under new head coach, Peter DeBoer, his former coach from the Plymouth Whalers. Weiss played in 78 games, recording 14 goals and a career-high 47 assists. Weiss repeated his outstanding performance the following year, during the 2009-10 season. Weiss played in a career-high 80 games, producing a career-high 28 goals and 32 assists for 60 points. Weiss produced in spite of linemate David Booth spending most of the season sidelined with a concussion.

Weiss fell one point short of reaching 50 points during the 2010-11 season. He played in 76 games, recording 21 goals and 28 assists, good for 49 points.

As of the 2011-12 NHL Season, Weiss is the longest-tenured Florida Panther and has yet to play a single Stanley Cup Playoffs game.

Talent Analysis

Pros

  • Elite acceleration
  • Excellent speed
  • Good stick-handler
  • Natural offensive instincts
  • Solid, accurate shot
  • Two-way ability
  • Great playmaker
  • Plays the game unselfishly
  • Good hockey sense
  • High hockey IQ
  • Great on-ice vision
  • Complete player

Cons

  • Injury Prone, has missed 91 games over 9 seasons
  • Easily pushed off the puck
  • Struggles against physical players
  • Struggles to fend off tight checkers
  • Consistency

Future

Weiss has spent his entire career in Florida and will spend a 10th with them. He is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. If Weiss re-signs with the Panthers, he’ll continue to center the first line until Jonathan Huberdeau is ready to take over. Until then, Weiss will continue to be a dependable 45-50 point scorer. If his long time linemate, David Booth can return to pre-concussion form, except a 60 point season or two out of Weiss.

If Weiss decides to leave Florida for a contender, expect him to become a second liner player who can put up 50-55 points a season. Yes, I think Weiss will put up more points on the second line of a contender or any team. Weiss would excel in a secondary role because he won’t have to face other team’s best checkers and defensive pairings every night.

NHL Highlights

  • Drafted 4th overall in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft
  • 1st NHL Game Played – April 3rd, 2002 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (3-2 W)
  • 1st NHL Point – April 3rd, 2002 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (Goal)
  • 1st NHL Goal – April 3rd, 2002 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
  • 1st NHL Assist – April 8th, 2002 vs. Philadelphia Flyers
  • 1st NHL Multi-point Game – November 24, 2002 vs. Anaheim Ducks (2 assists)

Career Highlights

  • 1999-00 OHL First All-Rookie Team
  • 2001-02 U20 WJC Silver Medal

Career Stats

AHL: 90 GP, 28 G, 35 A, 63 Pts
AHL Playoffs:
18 GP, 2 G, 7 A, 9 Pts
GTHL:
48 GP, 51 G, 58 A, 109 Pts
NHL:
557 GP, 124 G, 209 A, 333 Pts
OHL:
172 GP, 89 G, 134 A, 223 Pts
OHL Playoffs:
47 GP, 17 G, 41 A, 58 Pts
OPJHL:
35 GP, 15 G, 22 A, 37 Pts
WJC-20:
6 GP, 3 G, 1 A, 4 Pts

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