Stephen Weiss on verge of playing most games in Panthers history

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One of the bullet points of the slew of Rick Nash trade rumors is that he’s been stuck with a sad sack franchise for his entire NHL career.

Then again, at least he’s been to the playoffs (albeit in a humiliating sweep) in his time with the Columbus Blue Jackets. The same can’t be said for Stephen Weiss, who’s been through thin and really thin with the Florida Panthers.

The 28-year-old center is amid his 10th season in the league, with every single minute coming with the Panthers. To some, that might be considered the equivalent to a hockey prison sentence, but Weiss is striving to make a difference for the team. He’s also on the verge of a nice little milestone, as the Miami Hearld’s Robbie Levin points out that Weiss is one appearance away from playing more games (614) than any player in franchise history.*

Much like his idol Steve Yzerman, the fourth overall pick of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft hopes to stick with the same franchise for his entire career.

“It’s been a long road,” Weiss said. “But for the most part, I’m very happy to still be here and seeing this team get closer to where it needs to be.”

With all the prospects that GM Dale Tallon has stockpiled, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Weiss get rewarded for his patience with a steady stream of playoff appearances. In fact, that could even start in 2011-12.

Weiss’ career

Games Played: 613; Goals: 137; Assists: 237; Points: 374; -4 with 274 penalty minutes and 21 game-winning goals.

Zero playoff games.

* – Weiss is set to break his tie with Radek Dvorak for the franchise mark.