The Detroit Red Wings made the first splash Friday by signing former Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson to a one-year contract. A little more than two hours into the free-agent signing period, the Red Wings struck again, agreeing to a five-year contract with center Stephen Weiss that carries a $4.9 million salary-cap charge.
Weiss, 30, joins a stable of centers in Detroit that includes Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Joakim Andersson and Darren Helm. It's likely that Red Wings coach Mike Babcock. However, the addition of Weiss means Babcock can attempt to play Zetterberg and Datsyuk on the same line.
"I think when you look at Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk and when coach said he wanted to put those two together and have me in the two spot it’s pretty exciting," Weiss told the Red Wings website. "Getting a chance to play with those two players and learn from them, those are two of the top [forwards] in the game and see what they do on a daily basis and try and get better as a player."
Andersson is also a restricted free agent.
Weiss has played his entire 11-year career with the Florida Panthers and has 394 points in 654 games. His 2012-13 season was cut short because of a wrist injury and he finished with just four points and a minus-13 rating in 17 games. He was likely going to be a target for many teams at the 2013 NHL Trade Deadline had it not been for the injury.
Weiss had 57 points in 80 games in 2011-12, helping the Panthers reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2000.
"Coming from Florida and being there for about 10 years, only playing in the playoffs one year it was a pretty easy decision to come and play for ... this Red Wings’ organization that's had the culture of winning over the years," Weiss said.