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Impending UFA Weiss: “I want to end my career with the Panthers”

Nov 12, 2012, 5:03 PM EDT

Atlanta Thrashers v Florida Panthers Getty Images

Stephen Weiss has made it clear — he’s committed to staying in Sunrise.

“I want to end my career with the Panthers,” Weiss told the Miami Herald. “This organization has been very good to me. We’re starting to see brighter days ahead with the kids we have coming up and some of the draft picks we’ve stockpiled.”

There’s just one catch — Weiss’ six-year, $18.6 million deal expires at the end of 2012-13. The lockout interrupted talks of a contract extension and the 29-year-old said he won’t negotiate a deal while the regular season is on (whenever that starts.)

So, he’s in limbo. And limbo could be an issue, something the Herald’s George Richards points out:

When asked if he understood the ramifications of playing the 2012-13 season as a pending free agent, Weiss nodded emphatically. The Panthers, like the Cavaliers with LeBron James, have been burned by pending free agents.

Florida, if it was out of the playoff race at the trade deadline, may be tempted to trade Weiss instead of potentially losing him for nothing. Of course, that’s a long way away…

…In 2009, Florida lost All-Star defenseman Jay Bouwmeester for virtually nothing as he refused to re-sign with the Panthers.

Richards notes that Bouwmeester disliked playing in Florida — in ’09, his agent reportedly gave then-GM Jacques Martin a list of teams Bouwmeester wanted to be traded to — whereas Weiss likes the city and franchise.

“There’s nothing but good days ahead for this team. I believe that,” he said. “I would like to stay and be a part of it.”

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