When you think of Ken Holland’s bad signings one of the first names that enter the mind is Stephen Weiss.
Although he wasn’t directly from the area, he played his junior hockey with the Plymouth Whalers. Stephen Weiss is originally from Toronto, Ontario just a four-hour drive from downtown Detroit. Weiss was expected to strengthen the Detroit Red Wings down the middle of the lineup, anchoring the third line behind Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. When Mike Babcock needed or wanted to play his two star forwards together, Weiss was expected to be able to easily be capable of transcending as the teams’ second line center.
He was the fourth overall pick in the 2001 NHL Entry Level Draft by the Florida Panthers. He spent eleven seasons as a member of the Panthers before signing with the Detroit Red Wings as an unrestricted free agent in 2013-14.
With the Panthers, he played primarily as a top-six forward, from the age of 23 to 28 he averaged 51.6 points per season. That production absolutely caught the attention of Ken Holland, Mike Babcock and the Detroit Red Wings. He was also well above 50% in the faceoff circle during his time in Florida; he was an efficient penalty killer another attraction for the defensive-minded Mike Babcock.
Shortly after the free agency period opened the summer of 2013, the Detroit Red Wings offered Weiss a five-year 24.5 million dollar deal that he accepted. He would find himself in the press box as a healthy scratch more times than not, or playing on the fourth line when he did crack the lineup.
He played a total of 78 games in parts of two seasons with the organization recording merely 11 goals totaling 29 points. The team bought out the remaining three years of his contract, Weiss would hang up his skates after the debacle in Detroit.