Stephen Weiss was drafted over a decade ago by the Florida Panthers 4th overall, and many people might have felt that he has been a disappointment for a player that was picked so high, but this season he has shown the exact opposite. With a Panther team that has so many new faces, Weiss is still here and ready to lead these Panthers to the playoffs for the first time since 2000. Known as a passer rather than a shooter, one of the gifts that Weiss does posses is the ability to find the open man, and it has never been more evident than in the teams first 30 games of this season.
For the past couple of seasons Stephen Weiss has been at the top of the Florida Panthers organization in points, even though the team was generally at the bottom of the standings. Although his totals haven’t been very high, they’re still pretty solid for a player who has had average talent around him. Now with players like Brian Campbell, Kris Versteeg, Tomas Kopecky and Tomas Fleischmann coming to South Florida, is it really a surprise that Stephen Weiss is having a career year?
Stephen Weiss certainly has proved that staying here wasn’t a mistake. Over the past few years Weiss had been the subject of trade rumors on numerous occasions. Weiss, with the season he’s currently having, would make it extremely difficult for this Panthers organization to trade him at least for the time being. Before today’s game against the New Jersey Devils, Stephen Weiss is trailing only linemate Kris Versteeg for the team lead in points, and is tied with his other linemate Tomas Fleischmann.
Stephen Weiss is having a career year and one can only hope that he will continue to play at the pace he’s playing at. Although there has been a lack of secondary scoring, having Weiss, Versteeg and Flash scoring consistently night after night doesn’t hurt. The Panthers have been riding those three all season, and Panther fans know it will be very important to have success via that line.
Weiss is currently 5th in the league with 3 game winning goals which just shows the no quit attitude the Florida Panthers have shown all season. Not only does he have 3 game winning goals, but also 4 goals when the game is tied and 3 goals when the Panthers trail by 1. Once again proving that he is the key component to the no quit attitude Kevin Dineen preaches. In the last month of hockey, Stephen Weiss has had five three point games; he had 15 career three point nights before this stretch.
The fact of the matter is, the Florida Panthers have gotten off to one of the best starts of the franchise’s NHL history, maybe not statistically (I believe the 1999-2000 season is the only one better) but definitely in the sense that the Eastern Conference is so loaded compared to past seasons, that the Panthers have taken the NHL completely by storm so far with their night in and night out toughness and no quit philosophy. Certainly for the Florida Panthers to continue the domination they’ve shown all season, Stephen Weiss has to play a huge part in leading this team.
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