Last summer the Wings made a pair of bold and exciting moves in free agency.
Daniel Alfredsson made the highly controversial decision to leave Ottawa, while Stephen Weiss was signed to replace Valtteri Filppula who had bolted to Tampa Bay.
The two were expected to help guide the Wings into the playoffs, and to help the team make a run at another Stanley Cup.
Suffice it to say, the two had completely opposite seasons.
Daniel Alfredsson came to Detroit to win a Stanley Cup. And maybe because he despises Eugene Melnyk, but that's beside the point. While he may not have achieved that goal, he was points-wise the best Wings' forward this season, and he proved to be a key leader for our young team.
Here's what I had to say about Alfredsson before the season began:
What can I say, I was spot on in my prediction. His 49 points tied Niklas Kronwall for a team lead, and his 18 goals were the third best goal total on the team.
I would not say that Alfredsson exceeded our expectations, but he certainly did not undermine them either.
With injuries to players like Datsyuk and Zetterberg, Alfredsson seemed to be one of the few Wings' forwards who managed to remain relatively healthy. Alfredsson did suffer from a minor injury midway through the season that kept him out a dozen games.
Alfie did not try to infringe on Zetterberg's captaincy, nor did he try and steal the spotlight from players like Nyquist. He simply wanted to play hockey. And he played some great hockey for us this season. There were many questions as to whether or not Alfredsson could still perform at an elite level. Those question were eliminated yet again.
Let's all hope that King Alfie wants to play another year in the Winged Wheel.
Whenever you sign a player to a 5-year deal with a $4.9 million cap hit, you expect big things. We all knew that Weiss was coming off of a severe injury in Florida, but no one expected him to have the season that he had.
Here's what I had to say about Weiss:
Expect him to play 77 games, score 23 goals, and notch 44 assists for a total of 67 points. Slightly optimistic? Maybe, but Weiss had a career high of 61 points in 2008-09, which is less than my prediction but when you remember that he played for Florida it all makes sense.
Well, I was only 63 points off from having an accurate prediction.
When he was in the lineup, Weiss's play was horrendous. He could not get anything going, regardless of who his linemates were. To put his season into perspective, he had one more point than Mikael Samuelsson in the same amount of games played.
While I do not like making excuses for players, especially those who are being paid a lot of money, it think it is fair to say that Stephen Weiss was never healthy during this past season. His injury that had limited him to only 17 games and 4 points with the Panthers during the lockout year was still inhibiting his play.
Weiss was interviewed by Bob Duff a few days ago about his season, and commented on how he tried to play through a nagging injury:
“Even though it was my first year and I wanted to do things the right way, maybe taking a little time off at the start of the season would have done me better than pushing through and trying to be a little bit of a hero that way,” Weiss said.
I understand why he wanted to play through his injury. If you do not remember, even Babcock said at the start of the season that the pressure was going to be on Weiss to perform.
Next season will be a big one for Stephen Weiss. Assuming that he is healthy enough to start the season, which he may not be, it will be up him to prove that he is the Wings' #2 center going forward. With players like Riley Sheahan emerging, the Wings cannot afford to wait on Weiss to improve.
Ideally, I would like to give Stephen Weiss an incomplete grade. But then again, he did play 26 games with the team. Regardless of the state of his health, he should have been able to produce more during that time period.
Next up in the offseason evaluations is a mule and the piano man.