Many players will be remembered for their leadership, whether or not they could perform in the clutch, or if there were unique aspects to their game.
For Eric Weinrich, he’ll most likely be remembered for a piece of equipment. The former Flyers’ defenseman that sported a yellow visor throughout his career went on to play for five different teams after his stay in Philly and is currently a scout for another NHL club.
Signed by the Flyers in the summer of 2001, Weinrich was a strong presence on the back line for the Orange and Black over three seasons. In 215 regular season games for Philly, the defenseman found the back of the net eight times and registered 45 helpers. Weinrich also took part in 18 postseason tilts for the Flyers recording both his goals and both his assists in the 2003 playoffs.
In his time on Broad Street, Weinrich potted three of his 13 career game-winning goals and two of his six career goals in the NHL playoffs. Both of his tallies came in the Flyers’ 2003 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals match-up with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Weinrich scored in Philly’s 5-3 loss in Game 1 and notched his final goal in the NHL postseason in Game 3, which was a 4-3 loss thanks to Tomas Kaberle’s second goal of the game at the 7:20 mark of double overtime.
Despite posting two goals and seven assists in 54 games in the 2003-04 season, Weinrich was shipped to the St. Louis Blues in early February of ’04 for a pick in the fifth round of that year’s draft.
“I’m a little bit shocked, but I had a great time here,” Weinrich told USA Today after the trade.
The Flyers chose winger Gino Pisellini with the pick acquired from the Blues, a player who last played with the Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL in the 2007-2008 season.
After he posted two goals and eight assists in 26 games with the Blues, Weinrich had an assist for the club before they exited the 2004 playoffs in five games to the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.
Weinrich also represented U.S.A. at both the World Championships, where he was an alternate captain, and the World Cup of Hockey in 2004.
The defenseman joined EC Villacher SV of the Erste Bank Eishockey Liga during the lockout season.
Alongside NHLers Jason Krog and Ethan Moreau, Weinrich helped the club finish fourth in Austria’s elite seven-team league while he potted three goals and recorded eight assists in 10 regular season games. Weinrich also had an assist in three playoff games before EC Villacher SV was knocked out by the top-seeded Vienna Capitals, who moved on to beat Klagenfurter AC in the finals.
After the lockout, Weinrich returned to the Blues and deposited his final goal in the NHL, along with 16 helpers, in 59 games before he was dealt to the Vancouver Canucks. The veteran d-man joined the Canadian club in exchange for Tomas Mojzis, a player who has played a total of 17 NHL games in his career and is a member of HC Lev Praha of the Kontinental Hockey League, and a third-round pick from the Canucks in the 2006 draft. The Blues then traded the third-round pick they acquired from the Canucks and their own first-round pick to the Devils for New Jersey’s first-round pick, with which the Blues picked Patrik Berglund.
Weinrich took part in 16 tilts for the Canucks and failed to record a single point while recording eight PIMs, as Vancouver missed the playoffs by three points.
In the summer of 2006, Weinrich retired and joined the staff of the Portland Pirates, who at the time were the Anaheim Ducks’ AHL affiliate, as an assistant coach. His role behind the bench didn’t last long, as Weinrich suited up for the Pirates later in the season due to several injuries on Portland’s blue line.
Weinrich took part in 36 tilts for the Pirates scoring two goals and 12 assists for a club that featured several former/future Flyers, such as: Sebastien Caron, Michael Leighton, Bruno St. Jacques, and Pat Kavanagh.
For the 2007-08 campaign, Weinrich became a full-time player again, as he suited up in 52 games with the Pirates. The defender had a goal and seven assists in his final season as a player, while Portland made it to the Eastern Conference Finals without any help from Weinrich in the postseason. The club bowed out to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, who ultimately lost in the Calder Cup Finals to the Chicago Wolves.
For the following campaign, Weinrich returned to the Pirates’ bench as an assistant coach and stayed with the club through the 2010-11 season. In his three years as a member of Portland’s staff, the Pirates: lost to the Providence Bruins in the 2009 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in five games, were swept by the Manchester Monarchs in the 2010 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, and lost to the Binghamton Senators (the eventual Calder Cup Champions) in six games in the ’11 Eastern Conference Semifinals.
As for this season, Weinrich was hired as a pro scout for the Buffalo Sabres in the New England region. While the Pirates changed affiliations from the Sabres to the Phoenix Coyotes for this past regular season, Weinrich stayed in the Northeast.
“I was hoping there would be a head coaching job open in Rochester but that didn’t happen,” Weinrich told The Portland Press Herald after he was hired by the Sabres. “Now I get to stay in Portland and to help out on the pro side of the organization.”
Considering Weinrich played his college hockey at the University of Maine, it makes sense that the former Flyer joined the Sabres’ staff.