Doug Weight is the current captain of the New York Islanders, but for how long?
Weight appeared in only 36 games this year due to injuries to his shoulder that eventually forced him into shutdown mode since his ailments required surgery. In that short time-frame, he scored 1 goal and 16 assists for 17 points. Despite having a solid outing on offense the year before, the Isles mainly brought him back to Captain a young team that could benefit from his leadership. He is a first-class act and understood that his job was to serve as a mentor for this team.
An example of his professionalism was demonstrated when he came on to the ice after the last home game of the season to thank the crowd for supporting the team and promising them an exciting future here on the Island. He also mentioned how glad he is to be a part of this process moving forward. It makes you wonder...do the Isles intend on giving Doug another shot?
First off, it would have to be decided by Doug if he plans on retiring or not before the Isles can even consider his return. The past two seasons were plagued by injury and he is now at the age of 39. He has had a stellar career; he's tallied 1,024 points in 1,220 games and won a Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes. But he may still have enough gas left in the tank for one more run.
Personally, I feel that the Islanders should look to hand the captaincy over to someone like Kyle Okposo, a young forward on the brink of hitting stardom that has shown the ability to lead by example on and off the ice. Therefore, if Doug's leadership is no longer required, the Islanders should look in a different direction.
In fact, the Islanders might want to consider that option with all of their veterans, including Richard Park, Jon Sim, Tim Jackman and Freddy Meyer, all of which who are facing unrestricted free agency. The youth movement started with a veteran presence so the younger players could absorb everything they had to offer, but now the team is passing a turning-point where it should belong to the young nucleus they have.
What do you think? Should the Isles give Doug Weight and some of their impending free agents another year? Or is this the year where the Islanders officially belong to the likes of Tavares, Okposo, Bailey, Nielsen and so on?
Check out my blog discussing Calvin de Haan and the future of the Isles defense at The Hockey Writers!
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