The Detroit Red Wings were able to grab one of the bigger name free agents out on the market on the first day of free agency, filling a position of need for their forward ranks in bringing in Stephen Weiss. In doing so, they also upgraded over their previous situation, which included Valtteri Filppula as their no. 2 center.
The deal for Weiss is for five years and will total $24 million, a slightly lower figure than was initially expected, as some had projected Weiss would ask for as much as $6 million on the open market. Weiss gets to go from a small market team going nowhere, in the Florida Panthers, to a team with at least a couple more deep playoff runs with this current core.
Having Weiss in the fold is obviously beneficial for him, as he’ll be surrounded by more talent than he’s seen in his career, having been stuck in South Beach for the entirety of it to this point. But it’s also an upgrade for the Red Wings over Filppula, who previously held down that spot, assuming Weiss can stay healthy.
There’s little doubt that the 2013 was a massive disappointment for Weiss, as health woes limited him to only 17 games. But he’s still only 30 and has plenty of mileage left in the middle, and should prove to be a strong addition. He’s an excellent playmaker in the middle, capable of chipping in 20 or so goals of his own, and a guy who’s won 50 percent of the draws he’s taken for his career.
The Wings get Weiss for a little less than it would have cost to retain Filppula, and it’s actually something of an upgrade. Filppula has never really been able to put it all together with Detroit, with his disappointing tenure being reflected in his 2013 numbers, which included just 17 points in 41 games.
Filppula will likely benefit from a change of scenery, but ultimately, Weiss should prove to be a better fit for the Red Wings. He’s been consistent for so many years with so little talent around him in Florida. It’ll be interesting to see how he can perform with quality wingers on either side of him in Detroit.