After scoring 47 points in 43 games for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, Jordan Weal was finally given a chance with the Flyers. It doesn’t look like he’ll play another game in the AHL again.
In 23 NHL games, Weal scored 12 points, but more importantly brought speed and talent to the lineup depth that the Flyers haven’t seen in years. By the end of the season, the former King was lining up in the top six and usually with Claude Giroux.
Philly originally acquired Weal from the Los Angeles Kings during the 2014-15 season in the Vincent Lecavalier, Luke Schenn trade. He played four games with the Flyers from there on, spending most of his time in the press box.
After a less-than-impactful preseason last year, Weal was waived and sent to the Phantoms. Philadelphia should be thankful now that no one claimed the now-25 year old.
He was recalled in early February, but played just three games before suffering an upper-body injury that held him out three weeks. In his second game back, Weal scored his first career goal and finished the year with seven points in seven games.
One area of concern for Weal is the 16.3 shooting percentage he shot at last season to help him create his eight goals according to Hockey-Reference. The shooting average in the NHL is around 9 percent, which would be almost a 50 percent cut in production for Weal if he falls around there.
Weal is a lock to make the team, but with Oskar Lindblom probably making the roster also, Weal’s spot on the top line is probably replaced. He’ll still fill in somewhere in the top nine in an offensive role.
Weal is a tough one to predict. He scored at a good pace, but it was a small sample size playing with star players and a high shooting percentage. On the other hand, he’s been a dominant point producer since juniors, including the AHL, and has a skillset that should be beneficial in the NHL.
Will he produce at half-point per game? Probably not. Forty-one points seems like a lot for a player still adjusting to the NHL, but 35 may be in his range.
The Flyers will set up Weal for success. He’ll be on an offensive line in the top nine and could play with Nolan Patrick, Travis Konecny, Sean Couturier or Wayne Simmonds, among others. There’s no way Weal doesn’t produce lining up with those players.
He’ll also see second power play unit time. Last season, the group was a downtrodden bunch, but should be better with more offensive depth and Knoblauch running it.
That being said, he’s also not shooting at 16 percent for a full season. That will take an inevitable hit, which is why I’m predicting a shade below a half-point per game.