VOORHEES, N.J. — Dale Weise hasn’t gone to general manager Chuck Fletcher to ask for a trade, but with his skates hanging from his stall at the Skate Zone in Voorhees, New Jersey, it appears that Weise will be the next shoe to drop in Fletcher’s plan to reshape the roster.
Weise’s absence from Friday’s practice continued a bizarre situation in which the winger is technically on the team and the active roster, but nowhere to be found where it matters most.
On Friday, it was confirmed that Weise has been asked to stay at home and wait for a trade to materialize. How and when that happens will be an interesting next development. Weise has cleared waivers twice — once before the season opener in Vegas, and again on Wednesday — meaning there’s not one team willing to take on his contract (signed through next season at $2.35 million).
In all likelihood, the Flyers would have to pick up a portion of that salary to help facilitate a deal, or offer a sweetener in the form of a draft pick to get a team to take Weise off the Flyers' hands.
How did it get to this point?
For one, Weise’s failure to understand his role. Former general manager Ron Hextall signed Weise on July 1, 2016, as an energy forward to bring a physical element while providing scoring depth in a bottom-six role. He came to Philadelphia following a season in which he scored 14 goals in 56 games with Montreal, but could never fit in with the Blackhawks with one assist in 15 regular-season games after he was dealt before the deadline.
That alone should have been a red flag for Hextall.
In late November, under former coach Dave Hakstol, Weise was under the impression he had a bigger role, working his way onto the second line alongside Nolan Patrick and Jakub Voracek. In early December, Weise was playing some of his best hockey as a Flyer, scoring three goals over a five-game stretch.
That all changed when Scott Gordon replaced Hakstol. Weise was relegated to a fourth-line checking role, which, let’s just say, he refused to embrace. In recent games at Washington and last Saturday in New Jersey, Weise played a combined 20:38 with a whole lot of nothing — no shots, no hits, no blocks and, quite frankly, no interest.
To make matters worse was Patrick’s disturbing admission: “He was really good at helping me stay positive through the slump and when everything wasn't going well. He's by far the best teammate I've ever had."
The best teammate he’s ever had?
If Weise was this incredible teammate, then he would have spent the past two seasons leading by example on the ice as the hardest-working player on the team, and not tell a teammate all the cushy things he wants to hear when things aren’t going so well.
As the saying goes, “Misery loves company.”
Even the media loved talking to Weise. He often would say the things that needed to be said following an embarrassing loss. But if Weise was exactly what the Flyers needed when he signed a four-year, $9.4 million contract, then he wouldn’t be at home waiting for a phone call.
“Obviously, I’ve talked to him,” Patrick said. “I know what the situation is. Things happen quick in pro sports. Obviously, it’s a tough one to swallow. He’s a good body like that. I just hope he gets to go to another team and gets a shot there.”
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