|Florida Panthers center Stephen Weiss (9) scores a goal in the third period against the Tampa Bay Lightning during an NHL hockey game in Sunrise, Fla., Sunday, March 21, 2010. The Panthers won 5-2. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) |
In today's topic, we take a closer look at center Stephen Weiss
in the Top 10 Players To Watch this season.
With injuries beseiging the Panthers most dynamic forwards early last year, the team needed someone to step up their game.
Taking the lead in that category was assistant captain Stephen Weiss
The center easily led the team in goals with 28 (more than eight more than his second best season) and had a team-high 60 points when it was all said and done.
An increased offensive production from the two-way forward kept the Panthers at least competive, but for Weiss, he can't really put his finger on the extra-goal production.
"I didn't really change much. Just tried to do the same thing (as in years past)" said Weiss. "Had some bounces around the net early in the season and it kind of carried on."
One thing that the longest tenured Panther did end up focusing on was shooting the puck more. The 27-year old's 180 shots were second most on the team and four more than his previous high of 176 during the 2006-07 season. The two seasons prior to last season? Just 132 and 154 shots.
"I was trying to certainly," replied Weiss when asked if he focused more on just shooting the puck instead of making the pass. "You're not going to score if you don't shoot. Definitely trying to do that and trying to do that even more this year. Get more pucks to the net and the more you do that, the more chances you're going to score, the more rebounds that are going to be there."
Joined by wingers David Booth and Michael Frolik, Weiss will be counted on for a lot of scoring this season as part of the Panthers top line. That pressure is something Weiss has dealt with before. It's also something that he enjoys.
"It's nothing new," said Weiss. "We've had that pressure over the last few years and it's something that it's fun. You want to have that.
"You want to be the guy that leads the way offensively and hopefully we can get off to a quick start."BY THE NUMBERS2 -
Recorded the second hat trick of his career December 2nd against Colorado. Also scored the game-winner in the shootout against the Avalanche.
Had a season-high seven game point streak from December 11th until December 21st in which he posted 13 points (5-8-13).12 -
Led the team in power play goals with 12, four more than Nathan Horton.15 -
Recorded 15 multi-point games.28 -
Finished with a career high 28 goals during the 2009-10 season, eight more than his previous high.60+ -
Recorded his second straight 60 plus point season. Had 60 points to end this past season after recording a career-high 61 during the 2008-09 season.180 -
Had 180 shots on goal, good enough for second on the team.