By Nick Barnowski –
A player with Michigan ties is returning to the state where his hockey career first began to take off.
After playing three seasons with the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League from 1999-2002, Stephen Weiss is coming back to Michigan, signing a five-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings.
Weiss tallied 223 points in 172 games with the Whalers, leading him to be drafted fourth overall by the Florida Panthers in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. He has spent his entire NHL career with Florida, and holds the franchise record for most games played in a Panthers sweater.
The 30-year-old will likely become Detroit’s new second-line center, filling a hole in the Wings’ line-up that is expected to come from the departure of Valtteri Filppula. Due to a wrist injury, Weiss played in only 17 games last season, but generally is durable and can play on both the power play and penalty kill.
Weiss is now the second player Detroit management has added via free agency after the club signed Daniel Alfredsson earlier today. The former Panthers standout has 394 points in 654 career NHL games.