Will the Flyers Risk Losing Jordan Weal?

Photo by Heather Barry

By Aj Maiorana (@ExtraSauce_)

The Philadelphia Flyers have until July 1 to decide if they want to keep Jordan Weal around and see what he can do in a full NHL season. However, the expansion draft may move that deadline sooner. Many fans think that Weal should be re-signed immediately and protected by the Flyers. For the record, I agree, but the Flyers may be trying something that could let them protect another player in his place (probably Pierre-Edouard Bellemare) and still keep Weal around. The deal would revolve around an unofficial renewed contract and Weal’s loyalty.

On June 18, the Golden Knights will be able to negotiate contracts and try to sign unrestricted free agents. That would mean they could offer Weal a contract and the Flyers would lose him for nothing. But with the threat of the expansion draft and losing impact players, NHL GMs are thinking of creative ways to keep them.

One idea that has floated around is that the Flyers could offer a few incentives for Weal to wait until after the expansion draft to sign a new deal. Should Vegas come calling, Weal would just turn down their offer and the Flyers would essentially get away with an extra protection spot to use on Michael Raffl, Matt Read, or Scott Laughton.

Weal has already said that he’d like to stay in Philly so maybe it isn’t crazy to think that Weal would agree to a handshake deal, but it probably isn’t likely. Weal has spent four years playing regularly in the AHL for two different teams. After a breakout performance in the second half of the Flyers season, he will probably want a guaranteed NHL spot. There’s no more waiting around for a shot, Weal will be in the NHL next season, Hextall just has to decide if it will be with the Flyers.

As creative as Hextall has been at clearing away some of the bad contracts from the past regime, he probably isn’t crazy enough to risk losing an obviously talented player. Weal has proven in a short NHL stint that he deserves a place on this Flyers roster.

The Flyers should use a protection spot on Weal. If they don’t, either Ron Hextall has a serious issue in evaluating talent, or he’s made some kind of deal. Then again, we might not have to worry about Weal at all because Vegas is obviously taking Michal Neuvirth.

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