Doug Weight was willing to endure for a shot at Stanley.While most players would prefer to win the Stanley Cup in a comfortable situation where they've been for years, changing addresses was a sacrifice
Every season at the trade deadline, the media declares one team a winner and another a loser, but the playoffs are where the real winners and losers of an NHL season are determined.
In January 2006, the St. Louis Blues knew they wouldn’t make the playoffs, and they felt that they had a true asset in Weight. The Blues traded Weight to Carolina for a package that included a first-round draft pick, and forwards Mike Zigomanis and Jesse Boulerice. Weight understands that St. Louis management saw the need to rebuild and was able to join an eventual Stanley Cup-winning Hurricanes lineup.
"I think trading for a new player in the middle of the season is always a roll of the dice," Weight told NHL.com. "When I got traded to Carolina from St. Louis, the Blues were miles away from making the playoffs. The writing was on the wall that we were going to miss the playoffs and I think most general managers have to make moves to try to get draft picks. If you're going to miss the playoffs, you might as well dump some salary and they were able to get a young player for me as well as a first- and a second-round draft pick.
"To go from a last-place team to a team that was competing for the first overall record was exciting to me and it was a chance to get back in the playoffs and to be a part of something that could be special. Fortunately, it turned out to be that way."
Weight was one of the Blues' top forwards on a team that didn't have all that much offensive depth. During the regular season, he averaged 20:44 of ice time, but in the playoffs Weight saw his ice time drop significantly to 15:26 per game because he was playing on Carolina's third line.
When Weight found out that he had been traded to the Hurricanes, he wasn't sure where he fit in on a team whose formidable corps of forwards featured Rod Brind'Amour, Eric Staal, Justin Williams and Cory Stillman, all of whom finished the regular season with at least 70 points.
"When I heard I got traded to Carolina, I was pretty surprised actually because they were so deep up front," Weight said. "I kind of wondered where I was going to fit in with all of their depth. Looking back, we had three great lines and a great checking line."
Hurricanes General Manager Jim Rutherford sought out Weight for his experience. At the time, Weight was 35 and had been in the League since 1991. By the end of the playoffs, Weight had made a lifelong connection to Carolina and the Hurricanes organization.
"I felt like they definitely wanted me to bring some leadership," Weight said. "All I wanted to do was get into that room and fit in. I wanted to let everyone know that I wasn't here to disrupt anything, I wasn't here to demand anything, and I'm here to complement that team. Any role that I could play to make them better I was willing to accept.
"It was an experience that I'll never forget. I think (Mats) Sundin said something that year like, 'I don't want to win like that.' But I don't think anyone wants to win like that. I would've loved to have stayed in St. Louis and won a Cup there. As soon as I won the Cup there, I felt like I had been there for four years. I still have friends there and the organization was unbelievable and I feel no slight at all from coming there in January."
Contact Adam Schwartz at firstname.lastname@example.org