David Legwand and Stephen Weiss are two of the greatest players to wear a Plymouth Whalers jersey. Now, both are back in Michigan wearing the colours of the Detroit Red Wings. Of course, Weiss is having trouble recovering from hernia surgery but hopefully the two will be together with the Wings for the post season run.
Legwand played two years in the Ontario Hockey League, 1997-98 and 1998-99, both with the Whalers. At the 1997 OHL Priority Selection, he was chosen ninth overall by Plymouth and certainly didn’t disappoint in his rookie season.
Over 59 regular season games in 1997-98, David scored 54 goals and assisted on 51 for 105 points. He led the Peter DeBoer and Steve Spott coached Whalers in goals, assists and points. Overall, Legwand placed tied for second in the OHL for goals with Max Spiridonov. Both were just a goal behind Robert Mailloux of the Kingston Frontenacs. David placed third in the race for the Eddie Powers Trophy behind Peter Sarno of the Windsor Spitfires and Jeremy Adduono of the Sudbury Wolves. That year, he played in his first of two IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships for the United States.
The accolades were plenty in that first year in the OHL. Legwand was the recipient of the Emms Family Award as OHL rookie of the year and the Red Tilson Trophy as OHL MVP. David was also honoured as the rookie of the year for the entire CHL.
In 1998, the newly formed Nashville Predators made David Legwand their first ever draft pick. Legwand went second overall at the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, behind just Vincent Lecavalier who went to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Legwand’s first NHL action came in 1998-99 with a single game for the Predators. By the following season, he was full-time with Nashville. With the Preds, David played 956 regular season games, scoring 210 goals and assisting on 356 for 566 points. In the Stanley Cup playoffs, he played an additional 47 games, adding 28 points. For the past three seasons, Legwand has worn the ‘A’ for Nashville.
Weiss took over for Plymouth where Legwand left off. Stephen played three years with the Whalers from 1999-00 to 2001-02. He was a first round pick by the team at the 1999 OHL Priority Selection, 20th overall.
Stephen’s best season with the Whalers came in 2000-01 when he scored 40 and assisted on 47 for 87 points over 62 regular season games. He finished tied for eighth in the OHL for goals with Derek MacKenzie of the Sudbury Wolves and Mike Zigomanis of the Kingston Frontenacs. Weiss placed tied for eighth in the race for the Eddie Powers Trophy with Steve Ott of the Windsor Spitfires. Ott was another OHL grad on the move at the 2014 NHL Trade Deadline.
Weiss also competed at a IIHF World Junior tournament. Stephen played for Canada in 2002. That same year, he saw his first NHL action, playing seven games with the Florida Panthers while still a junior.
The Panthers selected Weiss fourth overall at the 2001 NHL Entry Draft behind Ilya Kovalchuk (Atlanta Thrashers), Jason Spezza (Ottawa Senators) and Alexander Svitov (Tampa Bay Lightning). He played full-time with Florida from 2002-03 until the end of the 2012-13 season. Over that time, Weiss appeared in 654 regular season games, scoring 145 goals and assisting on 249 for 394 points.
Over the off-season, Stephen signed with the Red Wings. However, he has played just 26 games in 2013-14 due to a groin injury and subsequent surgery. The latest news is that there has been a setback in his recovery and potential return to the club.