Flyers

Flyers' Jordan Weal faces a bit of ironic reality

Flyers' Jordan Weal faces a bit of ironic reality

VOORHEES, N.J. — Dave Hakstol didn't sugarcoat it.

He was discussing Jordan Weal and how it took an injury to James van Riemsdyk to get him in the lineup. Weal opened the 2017-18 regular season on the second line with Nolan Patrick and Wayne Simmonds. After being considered a third-line center candidate during this preseason, Weal started 2018-19 as a healthy scratch.

"In terms of the No. 3 centerman position, [Mikhail Vorobyev] beat him out," Hakstol said Monday at Flyers Skate Zone. "So that had him on the outside looking in.

"Whichever way you want to look at it, he was outside of the top nine. There's no shame in that, Jordan had a good, hard-working camp, but going into the first couple of games, he was the odd man out of that group.

"Now he gets an opportunity to go in and his play will dictate the opportunity for him."

There was a taste of irony Monday for Weal. While he gets his shot to prove he can make a difference among the Flyers' forwards, it comes next to the guy who "beat him out" for the role at his natural position. Weal, 26, will slide into van Riemsdyk's left wing spot on the third line, alongside the 21-year-old Vorobyev and Simmonds.

No, Weal won't be playing down the middle, where he's most comfortable and some of his playmaking strengths are accentuated.

But getting on the ice in the home opener Tuesday? He'll take it.

Weal has played well with Simmonds in the past and is excited to see Vorobyev up close, not from the press box.

"He's been playing really well," Weal said. "He made this team right out of camp and he's earned it. It's going to be good to get out there and play with him. It seems like he's always in the right spot, making good plays. Me and Simmer can get out there and get some pucks and win some battles — it'll be good to work with those two."

During training camp, Weal admitted to overthinking the intricacies of the wing position last season and how the transition took longer than he had hoped (see story).

Those struggles could turn out to beneficial.

"I definitely learned a lot," Weal said. "I think every part of my game got a little more comfortable coming into this year. It's just a year-to-year thing. As you get more comfortable with the team, with the guys, with the league, you learn the dos and don'ts."

Simmonds knows what Weal can do.

"He's strong on the puck, he's good on puck battles, he's a hound dog," Simmonds said. "He forechecks like crazy."

Lineup from practice

Forwards
Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Oskar Lindblom-Nolan Patrick-Travis Konecny
Jordan Weal-Mikhail Vorobyev-Wayne Simmonds
Scott Laughton-Jori Lehtera-Michael Raffl

Defensemen
Ivan Provorov-Shayne Gostisbehere
Robert Hagg-Andrew MacDonald
Travis Sanheim-Radko Gudas

Goalies
Brian Elliott
Calvin Pickard
Michal Neuvirth

Quotable

"T.K., putting his speed, his tenacity, his playmaking, some of that dynamic ability together with Patty and Oskar, has a chance to grow into something that can be very effective as well. We're going to watch that."

- Dave Hakstol

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Why Flyers fans should be concerned about post-NHL All-Star break playoff chances

Why Flyers fans should be concerned about post-NHL All-Star break playoff chances

On Saturday, we broke down why Flyers fans should be hopeful for the post-All-Star break stretch. Today, we look at the reasons for concern.

Alain Vigneault has 11 playoff berths on his résumé. He knows the requisites for a postseason club and the Flyers have failed to look like one in a key aspect.

"As a team that considers themselves a playoff team, you need to have a good road record," Vigneault said last month.

The Flyers do not through 25 road games. As stingy as they have been at home, they've been the polar opposite away from home. On the road, the Flyers are 10-13-2, have a minus-30 goal differential and are allowing the NHL's second-most goals per game at 3.80.

The figures above are a major concern and the Flyers must stem the tide over their final 16 road games. Vigneault's team still has two trips to Washington, D.C., two to Tampa Bay, Florida, two to Madison Square Garden and one more to Pittsburgh. Those matchups with the Capitals, Lightning, Rangers and Penguins will be stiff tests.

Speaking of the schedule, the Flyers are battling in the NHL's deepest division and have 14 games remaining against Metro teams. The Flyers are in sixth place of the Metropolitan Division (three points out of third place) but would be in first place of the Pacific Division.

The Flyers will be challenged the rest of the way and so, too, will their depth at forward. The Flyers are a middle-of-the-pack scoring club (15th in the NHL with 3.06 goals per game) and without Oskar Lindblom (Ewing's sarcoma) and Nolan Patrick (migraine disorder).

Is the team's youth in the bottom six enough for the playoffs and a competitive shot? Or will (and can) general manager Chuck Fletcher add at the Feb. 24 trade deadline?

Big questions and we'll have answers soon.

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2020 NHL All-Star Game: Flyers' Travis Konecny shows off his career-high stuff for Metropolitan Division

2020 NHL All-Star Game: Flyers' Travis Konecny shows off his career-high stuff for Metropolitan Division

BOX SCORE

Travis Konecny stormed into the NHL All-Star break already with a new career high in assists. The Flyers' winger has 26 helpers and is projected to finish with 44, a sign of significant growth in a breakout 2019-20 season for the 22-year-old.

On Saturday night in the 2020 All-Star Game at Enterprise Center in St. Louis, Konecny put his facilitating on display during the 3-on-3 action featuring the world's best players. He finished with three assists in the Metropolitan Division's 9-5 semifinal loss to the Atlantic Division.

"I had a lot of fun," Konecny said Saturday, via Flyers senior director of public relations and communications Zack Hill. "It was pretty funny, I was watching my parents in the stands and my mom didn't understand why we weren't playing like a real game.

"It's my first game and it's her first time seeing it. I don't know if she was expecting me to be blocking shots and forechecking, stuff like that. I had a lot of fun with it.

"It was a really cool experience, getting to play with some players, too, that I usually won't get the chance to play with was fun."

Konecny playing in his first All-Star Game at 22 years old should be exciting for the Flyers. Claude Giroux was 23 years old for his first All-Star Game back in 2011. The future looks bright for Konecny, who signed a new six-year, $33 million contract back in mid-September.

With 17 goals and 43 points through 47 games, Konecny is eight goals and seven points away from setting career highs across the board.

A breakout, indeed.

Here are more sights and scenes from Konecny's first All-Star Game:

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