Conditioning Stint Good Move for Stephen Weiss

On Tuesday, Stephen Weiss was assigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins on a conditioning stint, per the official Detroit Red Wings Twitter account.

Weiss has played in just one game this season, a 1-0 overtime win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Oct. 18. He did not record a single point or shot on goal and had just 8:03 of ice time. He’s been a healthy scratch every other game this season.

Players are usually assigned to conditioning stints when they’ve spent a long period of time on injured reserve and the coach feels like a few games in the minors will help them get back up to game speed. Weiss has missed time, but not due to being on injured reserve.

In Weiss’ case, the NHL could reject his assignment should it feel there is not a legitimate reason for him to be on a conditioning stint, per The Production Line.

Is Weiss Hiding Another Injury?

Weiss told me that he didn’t experience any pain while participating in training camp in September. Now, this conditioning stint doesn’t necessarily mean he lied about being pain free or is experiencing a setback.

Coach Mike Babcock could be putting him in Grand Rapids so he can get back up to NHL speed, since he can’t break the Red Wings lineup currently. Training camp and preseason speed are one thing, but if Weiss is a healthy scratch night after night, it’s hard to plug him into the lineup every so often and expect him to compete at the level that he is used to competing at.

He wasn’t able to do anything positive during his one game earlier this month, but he also wasn’t a hindrance. The coaching staff must feel he isn’t back to 100 percent and are hoping the extra reps in the minors will help him compete at the NHL level.

According to the Detroit Free Press’ Helene St. James, Weiss hasn’t proven to the Red Wings he deserves a regular spot in the lineup.

Time to Give Up on Weiss?

Sending Weiss to the minors is the right move, and it doesn’t mean he will never play for Detroit again. The Red Wings have a lot of money and time invested in Weiss, and they are doing whatever it takes to get him back in the lineup on a regular basis.

Weiss was supposed to replace Valtteri Filppula as the second-line center, but he hasn’t come close to reaching that position in nearly a year. However, he’s only a little more than a year into his five-year contract. Now is not the time to panic and attempt to deal him away or simply waive him.

If the NHL allows Weiss to go back to Grand Rapids, it will be valuable ice time for a player who is in need of gaining confidence.