Over the summer, Stephen Weiss was presented with a golden opportunity. After a decade stuck on abysmal Florida Panthers teams, the veteran center signed with the Detroit Red Wings for five years and nearly $25 million. The chance to play on a perennial playoff contender surrounded by star talent like Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk was a big draw for Weiss, and the Red Wings were sold on bringing in Weiss as a replacement for Valtteri Filppula. Detroit had been lacking in secondary scoring, and the additions of Weiss and Daniel Alfredsson was supposed to be a remedy for that. After a slow start, Alfredsson has picked up the pace lately but Weiss remains stuck in an inexplicable slump. As the Red Wings get ready to face the Panthers on Saturday night, there is no better time for Weiss to break through.
With Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Darren Helm all out with injuries, the need for secondary scoring has never been greater for Detroit. Tomas Tatar and Johan Franzen have done their part in the past few games, but if Weiss is going to start helping out now is the time. He was able to be counted on for 20 goals and 40-60 points while in Florida, but in Detroit he is currently on pace to fall under 10 goals and 20 points for the season. His current totals of two goals and four points in 24 games just isn’t good enough considering the amount of ice time he is getting and who he is getting it with. It’s also important to note that both of those goals came in the first two weeks of the season, putting him on an 18-game goal-scoring drought. Heading into Saturday’s game against the Panthers, Weiss is expected to get second line time with Alfredsson and Justin Abdelkader. Breaking his scoring drought against his former team might just be the confidence boost he needs, and a big night might help keep him in the top six while his teammates continue to heal.