Phantoms Forwards: Weal Clears Waivers, Not On Way To Lehigh Valley

Lehigh Valley Phantoms left wing Taylor Leier (# 23), the fourth round pick of the Philadelphia Flyers at the 2012 National Hockey League Draft, will have to wait at least a little longer before being able to skate on the same line in the American Hockey League as a previous winner of the prestigious Jack A. Butterfield Trophy winner ... (Jack Mitroka photo/Noise Nation)

Lehigh Valley Phantoms left wing Taylor Leier (# 23), the fourth round pick of the Philadelphia Flyers at the 2012 National Hockey League Draft, will have to wait at least a little longer before being able to skate on the same line in the American Hockey League as a previous winner of the prestigious Jack A. Butterfield Trophy winner … (Jack Mitroka photo/Noise Nation)

der Eishockeyzuschauer

ALLENTOWN, PA

On Sunday, life here in the the Mecca Of Minor League Sports was highlighted by the most welcome news that Jordan Weal–the man selected as the Most Valuable Player of the Calder Cup playoffs when the Manchester Monarchs lifted the American Hockey League’s championship trophy in the spring of 2015–had been placed on the National Hockey League’s waiver wire by the Philadelphia Flyers.  The traditional implication of this move, of course, was that the 24-year-old center had been deemed surplus to NHL roster requirements and would be dispatched to the organization’s AHL farm club after routinely clearing waivers twenty-four hours later, accordingly.  The rather skillful Weal (5’10” 179 lbs), who scored 43 goals and added 96 assists for the impressive total of 139 points in 149 AHL games over the course of his final two campaigns for the Monarchs before making the NHL grade with the Los Angeles Kings coming out of training camp last season, figured to add even more offensive firepower to a Lehigh Valley Phantoms team which had already seemed fairly well stocked to begin with.
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By the time Monday arrived, however, the sun was not shining at the corner of Seventh & Hamilton Streets anywhere near as brightly as it might have been.  This because word had already spread throughout the entire city that even though Weal had successfully passed through the waiver wire (not surprising given that claims are, indeed, rare), the seldom-used pivot who skated in just 14 NHL games for the Kings and Flyers combined last season was not being assigned to the Phantoms after all.  The fact of the matter is that once any given player has successfully passed through the waiver wire then that same player does not have to go through the whole waiver wire process again for the next thirty days.
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So, in other words, the waiver wire news concerning Weal is a pretty major non-event as far as the Hamilton Street Heroes are immediately concerned.  It would have been nice to have the native of North Vancouver, British Columbia, up here in Allentown and able to skate in practice with Lehigh Valley linemates all week long prior to the Phantoms’ American Hockey League opener this coming Saturday night.  But, hey, such is life down here in the minor leagues.
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The almighty Philadelphia Flyers giveth and the almighty Philadelphia Flyers taketh away — and sometimes the almighty Philadelphia Flyers do neither.
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In the meantime, it does appear as if the Broad Street Bullies will be wrestling with salary cap issues until such time as the deadline arriveson Tuesday.  There is speculation that a player such as defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere (read, a player who does not have to go through the waiver wire process) will be given a ‘paper demotion’ to the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms so long enough that a Philadelphia Flyers roster which is compliant with salary cap regulations can be submitted to meet the National Hockey League, and then later changed with players going on injured reserve, etc.  And there is always the possibility that Weal will be going along on the Flyers’ road trip at the start of the new season as a replacement for the suspended Brayden Schenn.
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The reason why Weal would be exposed to waivers over the weekend but not sent down immediately results from the theory that a player going through the waiver wire can be ‘hidden’ if he is sent through at the same time that a lot of other teams are also sending a lot of players through the waiver wire, too, or so it is said.  Personally, I find such thinking to be far more wishful than anything else.  As previously noted in the “Phantoms : Waiver Wire Worries” article, claims off the NHL’s wavier wire are rare and that’s that — even the Lehigh Valley Phantoms’ radio broadcaster, the great Bob Rotruck, himself, would be happy to confirm that the whole process is never really something to get too worked up about.
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The reason why Weal would be exposed to waivers in the first place certainly is very thought-provoking stuff.  Having originally envisioned the former Regina Pats center to be sent down to begin with in the “Phantoms Roster Projection : Forwards” article, I became convinced that Weal would center a Lehigh Valley second line involving left wing Taylor Leier, the legitimate Flyers prospect who scored 20 goals in the AHL last season, after watching the Hamilton Street Heroes clash with the Charlotte Checkers at the PPL Center twice this past weekend.  A Lehigh Valley number one line featuring Chris Conner, the veteran right wing who led the Phantoms with 55 points last season, skating alongside the high profile free agent signings Andy Miele and Greg Carey, appears to on the cards for head coach Scott Gordon’s club, no question about that.
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Having taken in both of those AHL exhibition contests, I am also of the opinion that Danick Martel, the diminutive left wing who led Lehigh Valley with 22 goals last season, and Nicolas Aube-Kubel, the rookie right wing who was the 2nd round pick (# 48 overall) of the Philadelphia Flyers at the 2014 NHL Draft, will form the nucleus of a third line for the Phantoms.  Not to intentionally disappoint, but any further analysis of likely line combinations should wait for another day.  Perhaps Weal will be on his way to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms by then.


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