With the Flyers offense on life support, this maybe the time Ron Hextall needs to make a few more moves. He called up Jordan Weal from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Friday night, but there is another player with the Phantoms that deserves a shot to prove himself. In addition, there is one other move that should be made permanent for the rest of the season.
Matt Read on Wednesday stated, “Personally if I do not score in a while your confidence is low. You think about passing first, and you do not put your head up to shoot. Something has to happen, but it will not unless you shoot with your head up.”
His comment solidifies he has lost confidence. It also points out that the offense is in need of a spark plug. Without further delay, here are the two options Hextall should make at least until Travis Konecny comes back from injury in 4-6 weeks.
Jordan Weal was born on April 15, 1992. The Los Angeles Kings selected Weal in the 3rd round of the 2010 NHL Draft.
On April 18, 2011, the Kings signed Weal to a three year entry level contract. He won the Calder Cup Championship in 2015, as a member of the Kings AHL affiliate the Manchester Monarchs. Weal was chosen as the playoffs MVP garnering 10 goals, and 22 assists for a total of 22 points throughout the playoffs.
On January 6, 2016, Weal was traded to the Flyers in exchange for Vincent Lecavlier and Luke Schenn. Weal has only played in 5 games for the Flyers including yesterdays game. He has registered no NHL points, but he has proven to be an asset for the Phantoms.
At age 24, he was selected to the 2016-17 AHL All Star game. He has garnered 15 goals, and 32 assists for a total of 47 points in 43 games played for the Phantoms.
Weal is averaging more than a point per game with the Phantoms. He could be the spark plug that the Flyers need offensively.
With this season being a rebuild season, the Flyers should keep Weal with the big club for the remainder of the season. To keep him up with the Flyers after Konecny comes back from injury, Hextall should waive Read. After Read clears waivers he should be sent down to the Phantoms for the rest of the year.
The second move Hextall should make is to call up Taylor Leier from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. He has never been given an opportunity to showcase his stuff for the Flyers brass.
As a member of the Phantoms, Leier has registered 33 goals, and 47 assists for a total of 80 points in 144 games played. He was selected to the 2016-17 AHL All Star game, and he was voted as the MVP in the All Star challenge competition.
At age 22, Leier has only played in 11 games for the Flyers. He has registered two goals for his career with the Flyers. His first NHL goal came on December 17, 2016, against the Dallas Stars.
Leier has proven he is gifted offensively. To make room for Leier, Hextall should place Read on waivers. After Read clears waivers he should be sent down to the Phantoms. This should be retroactive until Konecny comes back from injury.
At age 30, Read is on the downside of his career. He is taking up a spot on the Flyers roster for some of the younger players.
In the past three seasons combined, Read has registered 41 goals, and 55 assists for a total of 96 points in 234 games played. He has registered 7 goals, and 5 assists for a total of 12 points thus far into the season. With a cap hit of 4 million dollars for the 2016-17 season, he should produce more.
The Flyers have nothing to lose with infusing this club with talented young players. The offense is struggling, and either of these two young players could be the spark plug the offense needs. Follow me on Twitter @JameyBaskow for all Flyers updates.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports