Two years ago Jordan Weal was fighting for a spot in the NHL. He had played 10 games for the Los Angeles Kings. Fast forward and he’s all but solidified his spot in the league. As a restricted free agent, the Philadelphia Flyers own his rights. There is one decision that will have to be made. And it should end with Weal staying in Philadelphia.
Jordan Weal (23 GP)
8 goals, 4 assists. +5 pic.twitter.com/G0hnIudoLm
— Flyers of the Future (@Fiveonthefly) April 10, 2017
Jordan Weal Deserves To Stay With Flyers
At first glance, eight goals and four assists doesn’t look like much. The amount of games Weal produced in is what stands out. Weal had at least one point in 10 of the 23 games he played this past season. That included four goals and three assists in his final seven games.
Weal scored his first NHL goal five games into his call up. The goal came off of a deflection from a Radko Gudas shot.
Jordan Weal scores his first NHL goal. He's been waiting for this for a Weally long time. pic.twitter.com/FDiByN6hBa
— Sons of Penn (@SonsofPenn) March 1, 2017
“A lot of hockey is just belief that you can play at certain levels,” Weal said about how it’ll impact next season. “I think having some success up here the last part of the season here really gave me that belief that I can play up here and have an impact and help the team win hockey games.”
Before coming over to Philadelphia as a part of the Vincent Lecavalier trade, it was unknown what Weal could become. He had spent a majority of his career playing for the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League.
He showed much promise there, helping the Monarchs capture their first Calder Cup trophy. Weal was named MVP of the playoffs. He had 20 goals and 49 assists in 73 regular season games. He also had 10 goals and 12 assists in 19 playoff games.
However, there never seemed to be a spot at the NHL level for Weal when it came to the Kings. He only had 10 games under his belt. That came five years after he was drafted in 2010.
After Weal was acquired from the Kings, he still found it tough to crack an NHL lineup. The Flyers were a team fighting to get into the playoffs. There wasn’t much time for him to find a place. While only appearing in four games that season, Weal did remain with the Flyers the entire time.
This past season, Weal spend the first half of the year in the AHL with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. He only had 14 games of NHL experience to his name at this point. Weal looked at it as an opportunity to find his game again.
“I went down there and we had a great group of guys,” Weal said. “We were all working hard and playing well. It’s a lot of fun when you can be in there every night and play a lot of minutes. Just playing hockey and getting back to what I’m used to is definitely a big relief.”
And find his game he did. When Weal was called-up in February, he was the Phantoms leading scorer. He was also second in the entire AHL with 15 goals and 32 assists in 43 games.
“I’d love to stay here,” Weal said when asked about staying with the Flyers. “This is an organization that gave me a chance to show my stuff. When I came up this year, I was in a position to have success and I’m very thankful and would like to stay here. When you get the players I was able to play with, it’s a treat out there.”
While GM Ron Hextall hasn’t tipped his cap about re-signing the young winger, one thing stands out. The team did not send Weal back down to the Phantoms to play in the AHL playoffs. Weal would have to clear through waivers in order to do so. It appears the Flyers don’t want to take the chance that another team picks him up.
With nothing else set in stone, Jordan Weal proved his worth to the Flyers and deserves to stay in Philadelphia. Only time with tell if the Flyers agree.