For the final three seasons of his NHL career, Doug Weight was a member of the New York Islanders. It was here on Long Island where Weight announced his retirement from the NHL. It was here where he began to focus his time and energy on the next phase of his career, coaching.
As a player, Weight scored 1,033 total points in 1,238 games played over 19 seasons. He scored his 1,000th NHL point in 2009 while playing for the New York Islanders. When he finally hung his skates up, Doug Weight ranked 5th all-time in points for an American-born player. He also earned a silver medal playing for Team USA at the 2002 Winter Olympics held in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Immediately following Weight’s retirement as a player, New York Islanders GM Garth Snow announced that Doug would remain in the Islanders organization as an assistant coach and special assistant to the GM.
Beginning in 2011-12, he was an assistant on Coach Jack Capuano‘s staff. Already being a leader that the players looked up to, his re-assimilation into the locker room as a coach came with ease. Given the opportunity to share the knowledge he gained over two decades in the NHL with young players in need of direction, Weight had found his calling.
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Time to shine
In January of 2017, the New York Islanders relieved Coach Capuano of his duties and Snow named Doug Weight interim coach. After leading the Islanders to a 24-12-4 record as the interim head coach, Weight was officially named the head coach of the Isles following the season.
When Weight took over the reins of the Islanders, he was tasked with getting all he could out of a young but extremely talented squad led by All-World center, John Tavares. In order to make the Isles dreams a reality, Weight has combined his Einstein-like hockey IQ with his innate ability to connect with his players and, in turn, motivate them. The results have been overwhelmingly positive.
Despite their sub-par performance in recent weeks, there is no reason to believe that any of the responsibility rests solely on Weight’s shoulders. It’s just the opposite actually. The team seems to genuinely enjoy playing for him. Judging by his level of excitement when giving an earful to a linesman or referee, Weight is seemingly enjoying himself too.
Beginning the 2017-2018 season, the New York Islanders and their fans were optimistic, albeit with caution. Pieces like Tavares, Nick Leddy, a budding star in Anders Lee and the acquisition of a key cog in Jordan Eberle gave the organization and fans alike a reason to hope. Doug Weight needed to find a way to get the most out of his roster. Weight’s other objective was to develop prospects for the Islanders farm system.
By letting young players immediately cut their teeth and begin playing meaningful minutes right away, Weight is not sugar-coating the cold hard truth of playing in the NHL. Mathew Barzal has been a revelation, but the Isles can’t expect every prospect to pan out as quickly and effectively as Mat has.
Top prospects like Joshua Ho-Sang and Keifer Bellows should be taking notes. Not just on Mat Barzal’s developing skills either. The confidence Barzy exudes puts him head and shoulders above his rookie peers. His immediate success at the NHL level can be directly linked to how he carries himself.
Weight’s Lasting Effects on the New York Islanders
Doug Weight’s process of developing young talent seems to be working. Knowing which buttons to press to get results from his rookies, as well as from the veterans, has been key. This is, and will continue to be, Weight’s calling card as an NHL head coach. As long as the New York Islanders continue to improve, Weight should have no issues with his job security.
This bodes well for the continued development of the Islanders young players. Weight’s presence signifies stability and familiarity. These cornerstones of leadership provide prospects the confidence to stay focused on the primary task at hand, to perpetually get better.
Doug Weight knows how to juice every drop of talent out of young players. The New York Islanders have a stable of talent coming through the pipeline. Weight wants them to know there’s no cap on their potential or their abilities. All their hard work will eventually pay off. Just ask Josh Bailey.