On Saturday February 9th, the Montreal Canadiens struck a deal with the Philadelphia Flyers which would put Dale Weise back in the bleu blanc et rouge for the second time in his career. At the time, I thought that this would be a strong move for Montreal, however, it hasn’t gone exactly according to plan. He played well when he was with the Habs from 2014-2016 in which he appeared in 152 games over three years spanned with the organization. Weise scored 27 goals and 32 assists, making for 59 points during regular season play. He also had five goals and five assists in 28 Stanley Cup playoff games as a Hab.
When Weise was first acquired with Christian Folin by Montreal, he was sent down to the Laval Rocket, the new Canadiens AHL affiliate. This didn’t come as a surprise as he had been playing with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms prior to rejoining the Canadiens for a second stint. In a combined six games in which he spent in the AHL, Weise had three goals and an assist before being called back to the NHL. Prior to this, however, he would go scoreless in nine consecutive games. As a result of this, the Canadiens decided to go with guys like Matthew Peca and Nate Thompson in favour of the struggling veteran right-winger.
Montreal has plenty of forwards up front including bottom six guys like Jordan Weal, Paul Byron, Arturri Lehkonen and Joel Armia to name a few. They also have a ton of up and coming talent looking to make the roster including guys like Nick Suzuki and Ryan Poehling. Both of these guys have proven that they are close, if not, NHL ready for next season.
Suzuki tore apart the Ontario Hockey League in his first year with the Colts last season, putting up 12 goals and 37 assists, making for 49 points collectively for the league’s Guelph Storm. This occurred over the course of 29 regular season games played. Let’s not forget the tear he went on during the OHL playoffs where he recorded 16 goals and 26 assists, making for 42 points in 24 games played.
At the Memorial Cup, Suzuki recorded three goals and four assists, this of course taking place in just a total of four games played. The Canadiens other top prospect, Ryan Poehling, had four goals in his only game with Montreal, including the shootout winner to beat the Leafs in the season finale downtown at the Bell Centre. This is not including any possible offseason acquisitions they plan on making which can further the team’s depth even more.
Now seeing what they have at the NHL level and in the development pool, we can see that Weise obviously doesn’t have a spot on the roster so it begs the question as to what do you do with him? Weise has one year left on his current contract where he would make $2.35 million at the NHL level, meanwhile, he has $1.7 remaining at the American Hockey League level as well. Let’s not forget that they are also paying Karl Alzner over $4.5 million to play for Laval.
Weise could be used as an AHL vet to help mentor some of the younger guys down in Laval where the Rocket finished the 2018-19 season in seventh place in the league’s North Division. Laval’s season came to an end with a combined record of 30-34-12, failing to make the Calder Cup Playoffs in Joel Bouchard’s first season as the club’s head coach.