At some point today — one day before the NHL Expansion Draft picks are finalized and announced -- the Vegas Golden Knights are going to sit down in a room and make their selections from each of the NHL’s 30 teams.
Part of that process involves talking to players who were both left exposed by their current teams and are also pending free agents on July 1. One player who falls into both of those categories is Flyers forward Jordan Weal.
Weal's agent, J.P. Barry, says he has spoken to LV about Weal et al players he represents.— Tim Panaccio (@tpanotchCSN) June 20, 2017
Vegas has a window to talk with those players here before the Expansion Draft, because they obviously aren’t going to use one of their 30 picks to select a player who is going to hit the open market in 10 days.
As we noted this morning, a lot of mock drafts do not see Weal going to the Knights. But depending on how these conversations go regarding free agency, I could see Weal being an attractive option for Vegas -- and vice versa.
More than the handful of games at the end of this past season, Weal has never really had an opportunity to play more than just a few games with top NHL line mates. He looked good in those minutes last season, and he’s been dominant at the American Hockey League level, so there’s definitely upside to his game as we all know. He could potentially be a sleeper top-six option for a Golden Knights team that probably won’t have many quality top-six scoring options.
And for that same reason, Vegas could serve Weal a good opportunity to actually get consistent playing time at the NHL level. As nice as he looked in Philadelphia at the end of last season, there’s going to be a lot of forward talent on this team next season. It’s not terribly far-fetched to foresee a situation in which he finishes a 2017-18 Flyers training camp in the same way he’s spent his entire career thus far: just on the outside looking in, trying to work his way through the “AAAA-level” tag that’s followed him since he first went pro.
We’ll see if it all comes together for Vegas and Weal, or if he winds up signing here or elsewhere once free agency opens. For more on the Knights ahead of the big event tomorrow, check out our new sister site Knights On Ice.