Flyers

Flyers

Dale Weise saved his best for too late.

At least in the Flyers' failed playoff push.

For Weise, Sunday night was a bit of saving grace -- a proclamation to fans and even general manager Ron Hextall.

Weise, a wiry, role-playing right winger the Flyers signed to a four-year, $9.4 million deal last offseason, had been mostly disappointing heading into the Flyers' season finale at the Wells Fargo Center.

He was supposed to be a better Ryan White, the Flyers' cost-effective and hard-working fourth-liner, who was not retained from last season's playoff group. Through double-digit healthy scratches and his first 50 games with the Flyers, Weise had two goals, three assists and 17 penalty minutes.

In 51 minutes of Sunday's last dance, a 4-3 shootout loss to the Hurricanes, Weise matched that goal output by scoring a pair of game-tying markers at even strength.

"I think that's the player I know I can be," Weise said. "It's nice to have a little chemistry with your linemates and get a chance to play for a couple games together. Things start to make it easier for you and playing a little more minutes, getting a little opportunity."

Over the Flyers' final 14 games, Weise registered six goals and four assists for 10 points and a plus-9 rating. He finished the season playing on a line with Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn, a trio which head coach Dave Hakstol praised less than an hour after his team's season had ended.

 

"I like the group -- that group was a real catalyst for us since they have been together," he said. "Again, it's at a hard time of the year, so they did it at a critical time of the year. I think that group was very effective, obviously the short amount of games they were together.

"Four or five months is a long ways down the road, but that's certainly a group that has a good chance to be together starting the year next year."

As the Flyers went 8-4-2 in those final 14 games -- too late and not enough for a postseason bid -- Wayne Simmonds saw the change in Weise.

"I think it's always different coming to a new team, trying to learn a new system, trying to learn new guys and stuff like that," he said. "I thought at the end, Weiser did a heck of a job, he slotted in beside Schenner and Coots and that line was probably our best line for the time it was together. 

"Those guys were great and I thought Weiser brought a straight-forward mentality, he's up and down, he's got some sandpaper and he's got a good shot. He can make plays, but he can simplify if he needs to."

Despite his improved play, Weise said it's difficult finding a positive in missing the playoffs (see 10 observations).

"If you do, I think you've got to like the way we played down the stretch," he said. "The last 10 to 15 games, we had offense that we didn't really have early in the year. We were scoring from all of our lines, the power play was back and clicking again, solid goaltending.

"I think if you look at some of the chemistry we built on some of our lines, you can look at the positives going forward."

That chemistry didn't come soon enough in Year 1 of Weise's Flyers career.

He ended with eight goals, seven assists and 39 penalty minutes in 64 games. For sake of comparison, White -- the player Weise essentially replaced -- put up 11 goals, five assists and 101 penalty minutes in 73 games last season. White, who recorded 16 points (nine goals, seven assists) this season playing for two teams, made $1 million on a one-year deal signed with the Coyotes this past offseason, the same day the Flyers inked Weise, who earned $2.75 million in 2016-17.

All of that aside now, Weise hopes everyone saw how he finished, not how he started.

"I think I can score goals," he said. "I've said that all along. I believe in myself as a player and in the last 10 to 15 games, I've shown the player I can be."