DETROIT — Stephen Weiss gets to face his former team, the Florida Panthers, for the first time as a Red Wing.
Weiss, 30, was the fourth overall pick by the Panthers in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft and spent his first 11 seasons there.
He has struggled offensively since signing a five-year deal on the first day of free agency at $4.9 million.
“It’s been a work in progress for him,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “He’s been (11) years in one organization and he came here he was injured in training game and got injured again so it’s been a real struggle for him that way.”
Weiss has just two goals and two assists and is a minus-3 in 24 games this season with Detroit.
He has gone 18 games without a goal and has only two points during this stretch.
“Confidence wise it’s been a real struggle for him,” Babcock said. “He’s just got to continue to work and battle. You do those things and good things happen for you. I think when you go to a new place, just not being comfortable makes it hard on you, but in reality though hockey is just hockey.”
Weiss, who missed six games with a pulled groin, was the second-line center the Wings coveted in free agency when it became apparent that Valtteri Filppula had priced himself out of their plans.
He has been up-and-down the lineup as Babcock tries to find a line that works for him.
“He’s been a real good player throughout his whole career,” Babcock said. “I don’t imagine that it’s going to take him that much longer, but when you come to a new place and you get paid a lot of money and they put big expectations on you and you put expectations on yourself. We’d like him to breath. He knows all that and he knew before he arrived. You always want it to go good for you in a new place and when it doesn’t you have to choose your attitude and battle through it.”