According to a report from Jon Keen, long-time WHL play-by-play man, Dale Weise is the first Canucks heading overseas during the lockout. He’s not heading to any of the usual suspects, like Russia, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, or Switzerland. Instead, he’s heading to the Netherlands to play for the Tilburg Trappers of the Eredivisie.
But Keen wasn’t actually the first one to share this news. Dale Weise was, on his own Facebook page (which is, bewilderingly, not private.) After posting that he was taking his skills to the land of the Dutch, a selection of his 1209 Facebook friends teased out the additional info — who he was playing for, where he was going, how long he planned to be there.
Nobody does social media quite like Dale Weise. Anyway, the thread is screencapped at right.
Weise wouldn’t be the first NHL player to commit to the Dutch league during the lockout, but he would be the first to actually play. The Trappers previously signed Pittsburgh Penguins forward Dustin Jeffrey, only to see him bail on his commitment and head to Austria to play for Medvescak Zagreb. The Trappers manager indicated that the club would be looking for a replacement for Jeffrey and appear to have found that replacement in Weise.
It’s a bit of a step down for the Trappers. Although Jeffrey has bounced between the NHL and AHL over the last few years, he is a scorer with two 90+ point seasons in the OHL and a couple big seasons in the AHL as well. He would likely have excelled in a league with lesser talent like the Dutch league. Weise, on the other hand, while solid as a defensive fourth liner with the Canucks last season, does not have that high-end offensive ability.
Weise has had a couple decent seasons in the AHL, scoring 50 points in 73 games for the Hartford Wolf Pack in 2009-10. The one area where he has a leg up on Jeffrey is that he was able to stick with his NHL club for a full season, playing 68 games for the Canucks. It was his ability to soak up defensive zone starts alongside Manny Malhotra and Max Lapierre that allowed him to stick with the Canucks, however, and that likely won’t come into play with Tilburg, who will likely expect him to provide some offensive punch.
It’s likely that Weise will do quite well in the Eredivisie, whose leading scorer last season was Canadian T.J. Caig, a former star for the Penticton Panthers of the BCHL whose NCAA career went nowhere, leading him directly to Europe. Weise’s AHL and NHL experience is far beyond what most players in the Netherlands have, which will give him a major edge. The average height in the Eredivisie is 6 feet and the average weight is 181 lbs. Weise, at 6’2″ and 210 lbs, should be physically dominant, particularly with his strong skating.
The reluctance of Canucks players to head to Europe had us speculating that the team as a whole had decided to stay in Vancouver. Weise signing in the Netherlands calls that theory into question.
Jon Keen also reports that it is likely Zack Smith of the Ottawa Senators will be joining Weise in Tilburg. The two played together for the Swift Current Broncos and evidently remain close friends. Just to weird you out, here’s a picture of Zack Smith in a Canucks jersey.dale weise, Dale Weise in the netherlands, Lockout