It looks like Doug Weight will have one more go at it with the Islanders, as the captain returns for his age 39-40 season.
It was tipped yesterday to USA Today's Kevin Allen but I held my "Well, that's an agent talking" guard up. But now Garth Snow has told Newsday's Katie Strang [$5 please] a deal is "in essence, done" -- and Snow will be on NHL Live early this afternoon (feed here at 1 p.m. EDT), where I'd bet my last PR dollar it's going to come up there, too.
Optimist's View: It's low-cost, he's a beloved and enthusiastic captain for the Islanders' core of growing young players, and Weight has shown he's willing to do whatever the team needs at this stage of his career -- namely, spot third/fourth-line duty and powerplay point work. Further, while injuries are an unfortunately frequent part of this stage of Weight's career, we still haven't seen him at "100% healthy" for long. If his shoulder rehab goes well -- and seeing the end of one's career at the next turn has a way of focusing your rehab like nothing else can -- then the Islanders could have a useful forward and key veteran voice to guide their playoff aspirations. Expect it to take a while for him to get in the groove after rehab, but he could make some big plays by the quarter pole.
Skeptic's View: Weight is old, now oft-injured, coming off major shoulder surgery and his presence on the powerplay point -- while better than alternatives the Isles have tried -- is nonetheless a sign that they haven't come up with something better. For a team in a youth movement, a 39-year-old center/left wing gives one pause. Particularly when he's played just 89 games in two seasons with the Islanders, and most of the games in 2009-10 he was gamely playing with a bum shoulder that needed surgery.
|Weight with Islanders||GP||G||A||P||+/-||PIM||PPG||SHG||TOI||PPtoi||SOG||PCT|
|2008-09 - Doug Weight||53||10||28||38||-15||55||5||0||18:17||4:33||96||10.4|
|2009-10 - Doug Weight||36||1||16||17||-1||8||0||0||15:50||4:13
Bottom Line: Frankly, I'd normally oppose a move like this. (Bringing back an old vet used to first-line minutes with his career shaken by injuries? Really?) But Weight showed last year that he can both 1) be a valuable vet to the young players, and 2) accept a reduced role when competitive realities dictate, without pouting. He's not Mark Recchi-caliber at this point, but remember that Recchi was seen as done three years ago.
On the ice, when healthy Weight isn't a negative for this team. There was anecdotal evidence to believe his presence on the bench was pretty big too, given how the team looked in games where he was out. Off the ice, he handles a lot of the burden that some teams prematurely toss on a young captain, protecting the Isles from the urge to do that. With the Islanders having several UFAs at forward and Weight often playing on the wing anyway, he won't be "blocking" any young talent. This is a low-cost, low-risk move. Here's hoping it turns into Weight's best year as an Islander.