Dale Weise: Montreal’s Unexpected Top UFA Priority

Montreal Canadiens General Manager Marc Bergevin will soon be compelled to sign one of his best finds, Dale Weise, as Montreal’s top priority in the coming summer is at the tail end of a two-year, $2 million contract that is set to expire on July 1st.

The “Dutch Gretzky” has eight goals and 11 points after 16 games so far in 2015-16. That puts the right winger on pace for roughly 41 goals, 56 points on the year. We can all agree those won’t be the totals he’ll finish the season with, but a 20-plus-goal, 40-plus-point campaign is well in reach. Given those pro-rated point totals, the approbation his teammates have for him, as well as his productivity in two post seasons with the Habs (28 games, five goals, five assists) , what can we expect Weise to sign for?

Let’s look at some comparable players who have inked new contracts within the last two years:

  • Matt Beleskey – LW – 27 years old – five years, $19.8 million
  • Benoit Pouliot – LW – 29 years old – five years, $20 million
  • Michael Frolik – RW – 27 years old – five years, $21 million
  • Dale Weise -RW – 27 years old – ??

All three players are in their late 20’s, top-nine wingers on their respective teams, and all signed five-year contracts. Weise, along with his agent, will certainly demand similar contracts to the ones listed above.

Bergevin will undeniably have a tough decision to make if Weise and his agent demand a five-year, $20 million contract. On one hand, Weise is an integral part of the Habs and their makeup. But management will have to acknowledge a couple things. For one, they will have to re-sign three core players within the next three years; Alex Galchenyuk in 2016-17, Carey Price in 2017-18 and Max Pacioretty in 2018-19. All will see significant pay raises and take up a large part of the Canadiens salary cap. There’s also the fact that the prospect pool is developing with forwards whom are pushing for roster spots very soon. The likes of Nikita Scherbak, Michael McCarron, Charles Hudon, Jacob De la Rose, Sven Andrighetto, Artturi Lehkonen and Martin Reway are all coming down the pike to be full time NHL’ers sooner rather than later.

Whether or not Weise will don the bleu, blanc et rouge at the start of next year is still very much a question. One thing is certain, that Bergevin will make the best choice for the Habs going forward, as he seems to always have done in his three years as the team’s general manager. That decision might be letting the Dutch Gretzky ride his success in Montreal, or letting him walk come July 1st.

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