During Mike Gillis’ tenure as General Manager of the Canucks, we’ve seen the team narrowly avoid arbitration on a nearly annual basis. The team has skipped going through the arbitration process Mason Raymond twice, they settled on a three year deal with Jannik Hansen on the eve of his hearing last summer, and cowed Shane O’Brien into accepting his qualifying offer in the summer of 2010. With the exception of Kyle Wellwood, Mike Gillis and company have never allowed an arbitrator to set the price-point for any of the club’s contracts, a trend which will continue as the Canucks and fourth line winger Dale Weise have reportedly settled on a one year deal.
Read past the jump.
As per Darren Dreger:
Dale Weise (VAN) has settled 1 year.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 25, 2012
The @News1130Sports Twitter feed was the first to report that the two sides agreed on a one-way deal, the first one-way deal of Weise’s professional career. Brad Ziemer filled in the blanks, reporting that the deal is worth 615k per season. Weise’s qualifying offer would’ve been worth 665k per season, so Weise left some money on the table in exchange for the "security" of a one-way contract.
Weise signing confirmed by agnet Allain Roy – 1 year deal – 1 way.
— News1130 Sports (@News1130Sports) July 25, 2012
Weise is slightly above replacement level, so he’s definitely an NHL quality fourth liner. Also, it’s rare for Vancouver’s grinders to secure one-way employment from Canucks management (just ask Victor Oreskovich), so this settlement represents some pretty fine work on the part of Dale Weise’s agent.
Last year was Dale Weise’s rookie season, and by the underlying numbers he did alright. His deployment was completely unique for NHL rookies (in fact, he was such an outlier in terms of his O-zone start percentage that he broke Robert Vollman’s rookie usage chart) but the Canucks came out even when he was on the ice.
The 23 year old grinder isn’t the most bone-crushingly physical player, and he’s sub-average in the fisticuffs department for a regular NHL fighter, but he has a habit of making the safe responsible play. Basically Weise has proven himself to be a solid low-event defensive option on the fourth-line which, is moderately useful even if it’s unsexy. He may even have some untapped offensive upside – certainly his consistency as a goal scorer at the AHL level would suggest that he does – but that tends to go unnoticed when a player plays solely with other fourth liners, and starts nearly 80% of their shifts in the defensive end.
Dale Weise’s one-way contract status may guarantee him an NHL salary throughout next season, but it doesn’t guarantee him much else and he’ll still face some stiff competition if he hopes to start next season as a fourth line fixture. The Canucks employ the likes of Andrew Ebbett, Steve Pinnizotto, Zack Kassian and Aaron Volpatti, in addition to Weise and Maxim Lapierre. Regardless of how that unfolds, Weise has proven he can take a regular shift at the NHL level without hurting a quality team, so he’s earned his NHL salary.