The Detroit Red Wings made a big free agency splash this summer, signing former Florida Panthers star Stephen Weiss to a five-year contract worth nearly $5 million per season. The hope was that Weiss would help boost scoring on the second line, and fill the void left by the departure of Valtteri Filppula. So far, things have not gone well for Weiss or the Red Wings, and as the team has lost four consecutive games the 30-year-old center has dropped from the second to the third line and could find himself on the fourth line on Wednesday. Over the last six games Weiss is minus-3 with no points and has been held without a shot twice. That kind of effort isn’t going to cut it on a Detroit team that has a ton of depth at forward, especially for a player getting more than 15 minutes of ice time per game.
It could be expected that it might take Weiss some time to adjust in Detroit, but he has failed to show chemistry while playing with playmakers like Johan Franzen and Daniel Alfredsson, and that isn’t a good sign. He has been practicing on the fourth line with Jordin Tootoo and Mikael Samuelsson in preparation for Wednesday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks, and if he ends up playing there it would be quite the fall from grace. Twelve games into the season, the Red Wings rank in the bottom third in the league in goals per game, and can’t be happy with the way Weiss is playing. He appears perfectly healthy, and while a demotion to the fourth line might not be what he needs to find his offensive form again maybe it will be the wake-up call he needs.