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Stephen Weiss is a trade target, says he’ll play in Florida as long as they’ll let him

Feb 17, 2011, 8:08 PM EST

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Atlanta Thrashers v Florida Panthers Getty Images

It’s that time of year: GMs are looking to make their teams better. Fans are clamoring for their team to make a move—any move. Some websites will make up trade rumors and some websites will report actual trades. And the players who are actually traded? Well, they’re just waiting for the deadline trying to get through it as painlessly as possible.

One of the major players being thrown around this year is Florida Panthers center Stephen Weiss. With Dale Tallon hired with the mandate to rebuild, a player like Weiss could bring quite the reward for the first-year Panthers GM. It’s a simple formula: a talented player with leadership qualities on a team rebuilding. It’s not hard to figure out how these rumors get started.

Apparently, Weiss is hearing the rumors as well.

“I try to not listen to it, but to be honest, it’s weighing on my mind. The unknown, not knowing what’s going on. I’ve never been in this position before. It’s a first, a new thing for me.

I’ve talked to some guys who have been through it, and they say that you can’t think about it and keep playing. I know that already. But, certainly, it is a little bit different and it’s been bugging me a little.”

Even though he has a no-movement clause (which he has not been asked to waive), it certainly sounds like Weiss is bracing himself for a move before February 28. But if he is moved, it won’t be his decision. As he’s always stated in the past, his desire is to keep his talents in South Beach and see it through for the long-haul. For what it’s worth, Panthers’ head coach Peter DeBoer would like for him to stick around as well.

“This is a guy who deserves to see the fruits of where this is going to go. He’s obviously been through the tough times and deserves to see the other side when we get there.”

Weiss’s situation just serves as a reminder that players all over the league are in a holding pattern in the days leading up to the trade deadline. Fans will look back to players from a different generation and wonder why players don’t stick with teams for their entire career anymore. Hey, even Wayne Gretzky was traded twice. But like Weiss, the movement is not necessarily the players’ fault. For every Dany Heatley or Chris Pronger who asks for a trade, there’s a Stephen Weiss who’d rather not waive a no-trade clause in his contract.

“I just feel tired from talking about it,” Weiss said of the rumors. “I’ll stay here until my career’s over if they let me.”

A career is a long time. For now, we’ll see if they let him stay more than 10 days.

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