Florida Panthers Need Decision on Stephen Weiss Situation

By Andy Schmidt
Stephen Weiss
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

There has been a lot of talk over the last week about what the Florida Panthers are going to do with Stephen Weiss.

I suggested that the Toronto Maple Leafs should trade for him, and there are a bunch of other teams who are just as interested. The thing is that the Panthers may want to keep him around to try to turn around an awful 2013 season. Florida and general manager Dale Tallon must make this decision within the next week.

Weiss got hurt early this season and only had one goal. That doesn’t mean that the team should just kick him to the curb since he is an unrestricted free agent, though, because it could be a great opportunity to keep one of the longest-tenured players on the roster for another three or four years.

There are people who probably forget that the Panthers actually made the playoffs during the 2011-12 season. Weiss had 57 points during that year and had scored at least 20 goals in the last three seasons coming into the 2013 campaign.

It is those kind of facts that should make Tallon and the team go one of two ways. They could either try to keep Weiss with a three-year contract or find a way to trade him away and get maximum value in the process. I’m not sure that a first-round draft pick will happen but they need a player back and maybe even a draft pick to go with it.

This is one of the big storylines that will revolve around Florida in the next two weeks before free agency begins on July 5. The longer the wait is though, the tougher this decision is going to be.

Andy Schmidt is a columnist/writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter @ASchmidtSports, like his Facebook page or add him to your network on Google.

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