Before I begin, I just want to inform my readers that my former username was TopRtLW76. Being that I write for the NYI Blog Box, I felt it would be more appropriate to have my real name displayed instead. Sorry if this has caused any confusion.
But yes, Doug Weight has been extended for the 2009-2010 season. This is a great signing and one that fans should be happy to see. Although many, including myself, were hoping/expecting to see Weight traded at the deadline for a juicy return, his contributions on the ice and leadership amongst a young squad will continue to be beneficial to this team.
This also adds a lot of depth at center. Currently the Isles have Weight, Bailey, and Nielsen as three of our prime face-off men. If Dean McAmmond is resigned, the Isles will potentially have their fourth center, and potentially a fifth if they bring back Nate Thompson. However I do feel that Thompson is more of a career AHL forward and someone the Isles should only call up when needed. Richard Park is a center too, but he can pretty much play all three forward positions if needed. Although there are at least four centers with Park and/or McAmmond possibly playing up the middle on the fourth line, alot can change depending on how the Isles do on draft day.
If the Islanders end up drafting John Tavares, it almost safe to assume that he will be playing in the NHL straight out of the draft. If this is so, then the Isles have Weight, Tavares, Bailey, and Nielsen definitely playing center next year. Hence why re-signing Doug is crucial if this team wants to improve on this year's strong finish. With the exception of Weight, those are some very inexperienced centerman. They all could learn alot playing behind a guy like Weight for another year.
It is also a strong possibility that Weight may become the new captain by this October in the event that Bill Guerin does not return to the team. It's uncertain whether or not Gordon has someone else in mind for the captaincy as I discussed in an earlier blog...but Weight has to be a strong candidate.
My theory is that Gordon will want to give someone like Okposo or Bailey the 'C' down the line, but neither one is ready for that kind of responsibilty in their respected careers. If Weight only sticks around for one more year, I wouldn't be surprised if they give him that letter on his chest to see how Okposo or Bailey emerge after another year in the NHL. Or we may see Gordon go a different route and give it to someone like Streit, a huge leader on the ice who contributes on a nightly basis and is here for the next four years. If Gordon is looking for something a little more permanent, then this is probably the guy.
'C' or no 'C,' Weight's return to this team next year is invaluable. The Isles were lacking a lot when he went down with an injury and have gained a strong veteran leader that plays hard, puts up points, and isn't afraid to stick up for his teammates. Hopefully next year he will be able to play a full 82 games and help this team continue in the direction of becoming a contender.