The Sweater Series #24: Jason Wiemer
Another early Bolt, and a high draft pick that peaked low, at #24 we have Jason Wiemer.Follow @NolanWhyte
Prior to the 1994 NHL Entry Draft in Hartford, Connecticut, The Hockey News ran an article in their draft preview looking at power forwards. It high-lighted two in particular from the Western Hockey League: from the Portland Winterhawks, a big-jawed center named Jason Weimer, and a big but oft-injured center from the Brandon Wheat Kings named Colin Cloutier.
We can expect that reading THN's draft preview was the only scouting that the Tampa Bay Lightning's head scout Tony Esposito did that year: the Lightning chose Wiemer with their first round pick, eighth overall, and took Cloutier in the second round at 34th overall.
Cloutier didn't go far, ending his playing career after just his second pro season, but Wiemer stepped directly into the NHL, joining the Lightning in 1995, as soon as the NHL's first major work stoppage ended.
Consider for a moment what the Lightning expected they were getting: in his draft year, Wiemer scored 45 goals and 96 points in the WHL, adding 236 PIM. At 6'1" and 225 lbs., he had a man's body. But like many players, he was unable to bring his offensive game up to the next level, scoring only one goal in 36 games in his lockout-shortened rookie season.
But he was still a big body, and banged around for the Lightning for a few seasons. The Lightning were bad and Tony and GM Phil Esposito were hoping their prospects would make them quickly better. Wiemer wasn't going to be that guy. In the following three seasons he plugged in 9, 8, and 9 goals, and also gave Phil troubles off the ice. In his memoir Thunder and Lightning, Espo recalled frequently having to go collect the underage Wiemer from local water holes, but it was probably the fact that Wiemer wasn't really playing a significant role on the ice that led him to trade the big forward to Calgary.
At the 1998 trade deadline Phil sent Jason Weimer to the Calgary Flames in exchange for monster-enforcer Sandy McCarthy and third and fifth round draft picks.
The third round pick was used to draft future Conn Smythe winner Brad Richards. Good to see some of the picks the Esposito Brothers made panned out.
Wiemer retired in 2006.
(Players to wear #24 for the Lightning include JDanton Cole, Reid Simpson, Kyle Freadrich, Shane Willis, Andreas Karlsson, Matt Pettinger, Johan Harju and Trevor Smith.)
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