When the Detroit Red Wings signed Stephen Weiss to a five-year deal it was probably understated that he was coming off a season-ending wrist injury in 2012-2013. Despite his cap hit of $4.9 million dollars it wasn’t fair to expect him to be the guy he was in Florida right away, but with Weiss’ track record it was certainly a reasonable bet that when he got caught up from his recovery and adjustment period he would be the secondary scoring threat the Wings have sorely lacked since Cup appearances in 2008 and 2009.
But twenty-six games and four points later… when Weiss has played he’s been far from “on track.” Now he’s faced with the prospect of sitting out eight weeks due to a sports hernia, an injury he thought was just a lingering groin issue.
If Weiss does elect to go with surgery, getting back in mid-to-late February would certainly give him enough time to be playoff ready. It also essentially guarantees the first year of a five year deal being a huge dud. A dud and the accompanying worry that the 30-year old second line center the Red Wings just signed for five years might have problems staying in the line up.
Not exactly what Ken Holland was hoping for.
It shouldn’t be overlooked that prior to last year’s shortened season (both because of his injury and the lockout) Weiss played in at least 70 games the six years prior. The injury bug is a recent development, but still worrisome.
Obviously you and I would forget all about his regular season if he put up numbers in the playoffs, but despite veteran talent coming back mostly before the Winter Classic, and a 22-year playoff streak– it’s hard to count on there being a postseason for the Wings. Should they miss the post season, Weiss loses a chance to make us forget, and we suddenly look a lot harder at the guy the Wings paid a little less than $5-million to rehab injuries all season.
Opportunity For Others Could Make Holland’s Job Tougher
When Weiss does get back, what will the line up look like?
With the mass casualties to the injury bug it’s easy to forget that there is a log jam at forward and there are still decisions to be made if and when the Wings regain health. It’s well stated that Gustav Nyquist can’t be sent back down (nor should he have been down in the first place), but what if Tomas Jurco makes it too hard to send him back? Jordin Tootoo isn’t a savior by any means, but I don’t think it’s coincidence that his return to the Joe Louis Arena also brought out an energy that had been lacking in most home dates at the Joe this season. If that’s a consistent factor, isn’t it tougher to send Tootoo packing? Even if he isn’t a guy you put in the line up every night.
Mikael Samuelsson and Daniel Cleary obviously don’t belong, but are also the toughest to get rid of (understatement).