VOORHEES, N.J. — It was just a week ago that Jordan Weal was faced with yet another nail-biting deadline.
Only this time he was trying to move all of his stuff out of his Boston apartment before the lease expired. Weal believed he had prepared for everything until he encountered some bad wiring on the rental trailer he was preparing to tow for his trip back to Philadelphia — a problem that took some eight hours to repair, placing his commute in jeopardy.
“It was tense getting things moved out for sure,” said Weal, who found himself more relaxed skating with teammates this week in Voorhees, New Jersey.
Weal’s latest expedition just seemed to sum up what was the most nerve-racking, yet rewarding summer of his professional career leading up to a two-year extension worth $3.5 million.
“Going into free agency, I had no idea what to expect," he said. "It was kind of a whirlwind with all of the stuff going on, especially with the Vegas stuff. That was changing everything. I was just sitting back and letting my agent do everything."
The “Vegas stuff” Weal is referring to was the expansion draft that took place 10 days prior to free agency. The Vegas Golden Knights had their sights set on Weal, along with Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, as their Flyers selection. As humbled as Weal was to be wanted by the NHL’s newest franchise, he made it known through his agent, J.P. Barry, that he wanted to stay in Philadelphia. The Flyers and Weal reached an agreement just days before the start of free agency on July 1.
“I was really happy to get something done with the Flyers and come back here," Weal said. "It's a great organization, one of the best organizations in the league. Just a sense of comfortability, knowing everybody, coming back and building off what we had last year."
Weal proved his worth down the stretch run with eight goals and 12 points from Feb. 28 to the end of the season, primarily playing on a line with Valtteri Filppula and Wayne Simmonds.
“They’ve been in the league so long, both of them,” Weal said of Filppula and Simmonds. “They’re just great players and I can’t say enough about those two. It was a pleasure to play with them. Hopefully, we can start the year again together.”
The fact that Weal had to wait until February to finally get his NHL shot was frustrating to him and mind-boggling to his former Phantoms assistant coach Riley Cote, who spoke about the situation with Broad Street Hockey.
“This guy outgrew the American Hockey League two years ago," Cote said. "Unfortunately, he was screwed with politics last year with the Flyers, and I don’t remember how many games he ended up playing.”
According to the BSH article, Cote didn’t elaborate on what those politics were and Weal couldn’t say for certain what kept him in the AHL perhaps longer than expected, but he had high praise for Cote.
“I’m not sure [about the politics], but Cotesy was an awesome coach and for whatever reason, he’s out of the organization now," Weal said. "Guys down in Allentown really loved him. He’s a player’s coach. He played the game for such a long time in such a hard way. He knew every style of play and every player’s personality and how to coach him. I heard he had some great things to say in that interview.”
If you’re wondering how Weal is wired, more so than his rental trailer, look no further than his parents — his father, Kelly, and his mother, Shelley — whom he calls the “yin and yang” in helping him navigate his NHL career. Dad is the watchdog-type while mom keeps Weal grounded.
“My dad gets a little wrapped in it, but my mom, she definitely keeps me down to earth,” Weal said. "She says, ‘All your buddies back home are sitting at an eight-hour desk job and you get to play hockey for three hours a day.'
"It’s pretty nice to do what we’re doing. You've just got to step back sometimes, and when things aren’t where you want to be or going the way you want, you have to remember you’re playing a game and you have to work hard to get what you want. [The politics] definitely popped into my head a couple of times, but you can’t get all consumed in it, and you’re not doing yourself any favors.”
And as Weal has found out, just getting from Point A to Point B is never as easy as it looks.