This is the way it was supposed to be.
In his seventh game with the Vancouver Canucks last season after being claimed off waivers from the New York Rangers on Oct. 4, grinding winger Dale Weise scored his first NHL goal on a line with Maxim Lapierre and Aaron Volpatti by tipping home an Alex Edler shot. At that point, it appeared the Canucks had finally found a fourth-line solution.
However, Volpatti would require shoulder surgery, Lapierre would be required to play different roles and Weise would slip from early season promise to score just three more times in 68 regular-season games while earning $605,000 US at the NHL level on his two-way deal. And when it mattered most, he appeared in just two of five playoff games. Yet, the 23-year-old restricted free agent hasn't come to terms on a new contract and filed for arbitration Thursday to again add fuel to the fire that the fourth line could still be a mix of size, skill and hopefully enough will when his situation is resolved. And the curiosity of where Zack Kassian fits into it all will be another sideshow.
With two years of required professional experience, Weise is filing for obvious reasons. Even though he didn't have a great season, salaries of grinders have escalated — Tanner Glass getting $1.1 million from Pittsburgh and Darcy Hordichuk re-signing in Edmonton for $850,000 — so he's in line for a raise if it gets to that stage. Yet most players who file settle before the process and that happened with Mason Raymond and Jannik Hansen, although the club is taking Raymond to arbitration.
"I'm not surprised that he filed," Canucks assistant general manage Laurence Gilman said of Weise. "It's part of the ordinary course of business today. As a player, when you look at the landscape of contracts that have been signed by other players with other teams, I'm not shocked by it."
If Weise's agent Allain Roy and the Canucks can't come to terms, an arbiter will settle the issue and that could set options into motion, but Weise can't receive less than 85 per cent of his previous salary. The Canucks could walk away and the winger would become an unrestricted free agent. But if the club elects a one-year arbitration, then Weise becomes a UFA at end of the term. The club can also elect a two-year term.
Weise's decision comes on the same day the Canucks were expected to officially announce that free agent depth defenceman Derek Joslin will be on a two-way contract next season that pays $700,000 at the NHL level and $105,000 in the minors. With the free-agent departures of Sami Salo and Aaron Rome and not qualifying Marc-Andre Gragnani, there's a need to bolster the ranks and the restricted free agent could slot into the eighth hole behind Andrew Alberts.
"We've typically carried eight defencemen and we have some good ones coming up," added Gilman. "You need as many as possible and we think Derek is a good blend of grit and brings a physical presence and will challenge for a spot."
Joslin, 25, has played 114 NHL games with San Jose and Carolina and had four points (2-2) in 44 games with the Hurricanes last season. The 6-foot-1, 210 pound Richmond Hill, Ont. native was selected 149th overall by the Sharks in the 2005 draft. Joslin's agent, Anton Thun, believes his client will give the Canucks what they're looking for in a defensive defenceman who can move the puck and play physically.
"He plays a clean and aggressive game," said Thun. "He moves the puck out of the zone well and isn't a back-end guy who's going to be rushing the puck up the ice all the time. But he's got the ability to go back in the zone and make the first pass and he likes to play the body. He will fight if that happens but he's not John Scott in terms of dropping the gloves.
"At this point in his career, he's a depth guy and can play a little bit of every way and if that's what Vancouver is looking for, it will serve both parties well."
Meanwhile, the fourth line has much depth but more confusion. After all, Volpatti has re-signed. So have Steve Pinizzotto and Andrew Ebbett. Victor Oreskovich wasn't qualified and Byron Bitz, Mike Duco and Mark Mancari remain unrestricted free agents. The Canucks were crushed in five games by the Los Angeles Kings and their fourth line in the season finale was Manny Malhotra between Raymond and Weise. Lapierre was on the second line with Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows. With Weise back on the scene the picture will be cloudy. It will be up to him to clear it up.
OF NOTE — The Canucks have also signed defenceman Patrick Mullen, 27, to add organizational depth. He had 20 points (3-17) last season with the AHL Manchester Monarchs. The Pittsburgh native also appeared in seven playoff games as is expected to play for the Chicago Wolves.
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What are your guys's thoughts on this? Do you think he should get a raise?
Sorry if it has been posted, I didn't see anything.