The New York Islanders announced today the signing of Doug Weight to a one year, $1.75 Million contract. It is a bonus laden contract and could add up to $4.3 Million if he is to trigger every bonus. While many fans are already complaining of Weight being extremely past his prime, I will not argue with them in that light, but I will argue that it is a good signing for many other reasons. This signing must be looked at from a different perspective than the signing of Mark Streit.
Doug Weight was not brought into Long Island to help us make the playoffs, nor was he brought in to become a number one all-star center and put up 100 points this season, however, he was brought in to play center for this year as a stop gap until our younger centers are developed enough to take a role with the big club at the NHL level. Bailey is not ready to handle any NHL minutes this upcoming season as he will need further development either in the OHL or the AHL, and Nielsen and Walter are just not strong enough yet to handle top two line minutes without some further NHL development. Garth Snow took all of this into account, and not only added a player for a reasonable price and term, but a player who brings a tremendous amount of veteran leadership and knowledge of the game to the table. His addition to the roster will be an opportunity for our centers and younger guys to be able to learn from someone who is well-traveled, a four time all star, and the definition of a true heart and soul player. Do I think he can still play? Yes, I actually think he has an opportunity himself to shock many of the non believers. I would love for nothing more than for him to come in and put up anywhere above 60 points and show everyone he can still hack it. However, regardless of his point production, that is not why he was brought in!
While we may lack premium talent in our line up, we do have a tremendous amount of leadership and heart. Between the likes of Guerin, Weight, and Sillinger, these younger players are fortunate enough to be learning from truly gifted players who have all achieved a tremendous amount of success in their individual careers. Each individual can learn something from one of these players, and hopefully use it to their advantage in order to better themselves and better the team in the long run.
This signing once again demonstrates Garth Snows idea of rebuilding. While it may seem odd at first for him to sign a 37 year old and consider it rebuilding, you have to look at it from the perspective that we do not even have any NHL centers waiting in the wings in Bridgeport. Ben Walter simply cannot hack it yet, and he may take another season to develop into an even mediocre player. Frans Nielsen, who is my pick to be on the Islanders roster next year, will have to work even harder now in order to crack the lineup, and hopefully he can learn something from Weight about what it takes to be on an NHL team. Following this season, when Bailey may be ready to take a run at the NHL roster, and possibly even Trivino, then players such as Weight and Sillinger will be able to move on and we can start infusing the youth. Till then, let the kids play and let them learn from the players who have proven so much already. I think Garth has been very savvy thus far, and I hope he continues to make the proper, well thought out signings, without overspending. We still have a tremendous amount of cap space and a nice young team going into next season.