Should the Islanders sign Doug Weight to a one-year deal this week or next, there will be an audible groan out of large districts within Islanders Country.
(Cripes, I sound like Stan Fischler with that one. Let me try again).
The Islanders are going to sign Doug Weight sometime in the next two weeks and the initial reaction will likely be unfavorable. People will point to Doug’s 37 years and 1,137 regular season NHL games and rightfully declare the last thing the Islanders’ youth movement needed was a smallish center near the end of his career. There will be plenty of jokes worthy of the Catskills: “This is a good signing…in 1998”!
For one year at a fair price, signing Doug Weight is a smart move.
There’s no way around it. The Islanders need centers. They have Mike Comrie, who needs someone to be his co-No. 2 . They have Mike Sillinger, coming off major hip surgery at age 37. Richard Park can play center, but seems to have found a niche with the Islanders as a wing. They have prospect Frans Nielsen, who can be an outstanding NHLer with the proper development and patient coaching. There’s Ben Walter for depth and not much else for now.
Why move a terrific young player like Blake Comeau to center if you don’t have to?
In 2005-06, Weight was instrumental in leading the Carolina Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup. The year after he was 16-43-59 with St. Louis (would you not sign up for that right now?). Last year he bounced from the Blues to the Ducks and never got on track.
It would be completely unfair to say he is done just because he’s 37.
There aren’t many great options for the Islanders at center in the UFA market that opens tomorrow. Doug Weight will play hard, lead, teach, settle down the power play, get at least 40 points and represent the Islanders well.