Weekes puts NHL career on hold
Former Devils goalie excited to work at 2nd job as game analyst
If none of the NHL's 30 teams show Kevin Weekes the money, the veteran goaltender will happily work on his skills behind the mic.
An unrestricted free agent, the 34-year-old Weekes failed to receive a legitimate contract offer over the summer and subsequently signed a one-year contract with Hockey Night in Canada.
Weekes, who will continue working as an analyst with the NHL Network, is thrilled to be part of HNIC, which he said drew him to the game in his childhood years.
"Growing up here [in Toronto], Hockey Night in Canada is the main stage, where our game is concerned," Weekes told CBCSports.ca on Thursday.
"I don't look at this as a default move, but a move forward. I definitely want to do [TV broadcasting] as a second career."
Weekes would seriously consider an offer to return to the NHL, but it would have to be a signficant, in terms of market value and playing opportunity.
Puck drops Oct. 1
Hockey Night In Canada on CBC returns Oct. 1 with live coverage of Montreal at Toronto (7 p.m. ET) and Vancouver at Calgary (10 p.m. ET).
Two nights later, HNIC broadcasts a Saturday triple-header featuring St. Louis at Detroit (3 p.m. ET) followed by Scotiabank Hockey Tonight (6:30 p.m. ET) and three regional games — Toronto at Washington, Montreal at Buffalo, Ottawa at Rangers — and Calgary at Edmonton (10 p.m. ET).
"This is my main focus," said Weekes of his role with HNIC, which he said could involve working as a game analyst on West Coast games. "But I'm a player first. I'll always want to play. In transitioning, I'm at peace [with my decision]."
Proof in the numbers
One of the NHL's most community-minded and charitable players, Weekes showed last season with the New Jersey Devils he still has plenty to offer on the ice.
He won seven of 16 games and posted a career-high .920 save percentage, tying him with Vancouver's Roberto Luongo for sixth in the league among goalies with a minimum of 10 games played.
His 2.42 goals-against average ranked 13th in the NHL, but his playing time has dwindled in recent years.
After appearing in a career-high 66 contests in 2003-04, Weekes played 32, 14 and nine games the following three seasons. Still, with 11 years of NHL experience, Weekes believes he should be earning a salary anywhere between $950,000 US and $1.4 million or $1.5 million.
Scott Clemmensen, who has only two full NHL seasons under his belt — albeit a 25-win campaign a year ago — signed a three-year free-agent contract worth $3.6 million with the Florida Panthers on July 1.
Brian Boucher will make $1.825 million over the next two seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers after playing 22 games last season with San Jose, where he posted a 2.18 GAA and .917 save percentage.
"The last two years I made $675,000 and $700,000. That's entry-level [money] given my experience and intangibles," Weekes said.
Weekes has a record of 105-163-6 with a 2.88 GAA and 19 shutouts in 348 NHL games (317 starts) with Florida, Vancouver,Tampa Bay, Carolina, the New York Islanders, New York Rangers and New Jersey.