Stephen Weiss

When I posted my thoughts on which second-line centers might be a fit for the Capitals, many of you asked me: “What about Stephen Weiss of the Florida Panthers?” So I am going to use that as today’s collective Feed the Machine question and see what the numbers say.

The first step is to take a look at what it is going to cost in terms of the salary cap. Since Washington has $6,686,351 in cap space at the deadline, Weiss’s $3.1 million cap hit should not be an issue. Plus, he is under contract through the 2012-13 season so it is important to note that this wouldn’t be a rental.

Because Weiss would be with the Caps for multiple seasons, we need to find out what type of production to expect in the future. For the purposes of this article I will project one year of production using similar players to his 2009-10 season.

Player Year GP G A P Sh TOI GVT
Stephen Weiss 2010 80 28 32 60 180 1600 8.2
19 Similar players 80 24 41 66 177 1589 13.9
Stephen Weiss 2011 55 15 22 37 131 1088 4.6
Weiss 82 game pace 82 22 33 55 195 1622 6.9
Sims in Year+1 (2011) 71 19 37 56 157 1372 10.9
Sims in Year+2 (2012) 72 20 38 58 161 1433 11.9

I found 19 players who had similar seasons to Weiss’ 60-point campaign last year. Those skaters include the likes of Henrik Sedin, Saku Koivu and Mike Modano at similar ages. The comparable players posted a better average GVT – Tom Awad’s Goals Versus Threshold statistic. GVT measures how many goals (on both the offensive and defensive side of the puck) above a replacement player were contributed. The six goal difference between Weiss and his Sims is significant, since six goals equate to roughly one win over the course of a season. I would guess the disparity between the closeness of boxcar stats and GVT is due to the defensive side of the puck. Weiss may not be as sound defensively as his peer group.

These 19 similar players averaged 56 points the following year while playing 71 games and logging about 1,400 minutes on average. Weiss should come close to that production if we project his current boxcar stats over an 82 game span. To put another way, he should produce the same as the similar players did but would need another 11 games and approximately 200 minutes of ice time to do it. Again, we also see Weiss under-performing his peer group in regards to GVT by about 60%.

This brings us to next year, where we could reasonably expect to see a 58-point season along with a GVT of around 6-8 if we discount him to his peer group as he was the previous two seasons. This number is important. Based on his cap hit ($3.1 million), we can figure out how much value Weiss needs to provide and compare that with the value Weiss is expected to provide. This is also called Goals Versus Salary (GVS) and is similar to what I did to evaluate Ovechkin’s contract.

To calculate it, you subtract $0.5 million from the cap hit (the cost of a replacement level player and also the League minimum) and multiply that by three, because to be competitive a team must get 120 GVT from their remaining $40 million in cap space.

In Weiss’ case, he would have to produce a GVT of 7.8 during the 2011-12 season to “justify” his $3.1 million cap hit. Based on his age and the fact he plays with better teammates in Florida then he might in Washington it is quite possible we have seen his best, which is good, but not quite where it needs to be for a $3.1 million cap hit.

So I stand by my original recommendation: Take a flier on Marty Reasoner and either look for something better in the offseason, take the gamble that Marcus Johansson improves significantly or persuade Evgeny Kuznetsov to soften his stance on playing in the KHL for one more year.

Edited by Chris Gordon and Ian Oland.

  • http://www.japersrink.com EmilyB

    Does acquisition opportunity cost factor in here? The cap/salary considerations are only part of the equation. The other part is that a year or three of Weiss could also cost all of Stas Galiev and a high-ish draft pick, etc. (And by “Stas Galiev” I really meant to write “Cody Eakin” but can’t bring myself to go there.)

  • Greg

    I don’t think second line centers are the problem. Constant line shuffling is. How can the second line get into a rhythm when Bruce is constantly changing who is on the top line with Backstrom and Ovechkin?

    Knuble, Chimera, Semin…. seemingly rotated at random, often times in the middle of games. Knuble is moved between the top 3 lines at times. The only line who has ANY consistency is 10 – 39 – 15, and even they are in flux because of all of the injuries.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Russian Machine Never Breaks

    @EmilyB It absolutely does, but I feel predicting what assets will go in a trade is WAY harder than predicting a range of production. I felt that production alone was enough for me to say “don’t like” without going into the “what will it cost.”

    -Neil

  • http://hersheybearshockey.blogspot.com Greg

    First off I have to agree with my namesake and say that much of the problem could be that BB seems to roll different lines out every single game. Sure injuries have played a part in that but not exclusively. If he would stick with some lines and let them develop a true chemistry the team might be better.

    Second, I think they should still go get Weiss. 1) I think you could argue playing alongside Semin would automatically make the argument that he has better linemates in Florida untrue. 2) The 3.1 may be too much but you are going to need someone for next season anyway. Perreault and Johansson haven’t shown that they will be ready for next year either. Having Weiss on for 2 seasons allows for the team to compete next year too. 3) What would it cost to get him is the biggest question. I think Perry should be included if possible because as big a fan I am of Perreault’s he is not likely to remain a Capital. Johansson will always be ahead of him and with Eakin and Kuznetsov coming in the next few years there is no room for him.

    The Caps aren’t in a position to win this year with either Perry or Johansson at center on the 2nd line. And do you really believe that Reasoner is going to make a big enough difference?

    Isn’t it just as possible that Weiss makes those around him better and moving to the Caps could actually make him a better player and more dynamic?

    I say McPhee has to make a strong move and to me the Reasoner move would be no different than what he did last year with Walker, Corvo and everyone else. And that didn’t work.

  • Colin

    I’m not sure why you say his teammates in Fla are better than the one’s he will be playing with here. If he were slated as a 2C, he would pivot for Semin and probably Laich or Fehr. The thing I like about him is his cap hit is not damaging and he would provide a one or two year bridge to players like Kuznetsov and Eakin, who would probably be better served by a year in Hershey than being rushed to the Caps.

    In the meantime, MaJo could stay on the third line and continue to build experience without the make or break pressure of the 2C position on his head. Plus, Weiss could drop to 3C sometime next year if MaJo proves he is ready to handle 2C full time.

    The problem with getting him is what would it cost the Caps. I’d be open to trading one of our young goalies and MP or Galiev and a high-ish draft pick, but would make Holtby, Eakin and Kuznetsov untouchable.

    I think we could do the deal for Varly or Neuvy, MP and a 2nd or 3rd round pick, but I doubt GMGM will part with any of his young goalies.

    Without Varly or Neuvy, I’m not sure we will be able to get him considering how many teams are looking for quality centers and how few will probably be on the market.

  • http://georgiaave.wordpress.com/ Noah

    Kutz will not be ready next season, let him develop.

  • Copper & Blue

    Get the hell off of my Weiss.

  • adam

    Weiss had one decent year. He is not worth it. If your going to make a run at some one, go for Derrick Brussard. He ‘s got 39 pts in 50 games and only 24,

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  • RAL

    I wouldn’t use gvt when defensive talent is a very significant party of the equation. Theres no doubt weiss has some quality tough minutes linemates in florida, but semin, laich, and fehr are really good too. I guess though that using corso it’s tough to get am exact number. I do think though that there’s little doubt weiss outperforms his contract. I mean, isn’t fifty points our so already worth about three million? Factor in that it’s power versus power and I’d like weiss, though maybe not if tallon wants kuz.