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How Flyers Jordan Weal is approaching his latest opportunity

How Flyers Jordan Weal is approaching his latest opportunity
Published On: Tue, Oct 09
Dec 29, 2014; Raleigh, NC, USA; Carolina Hurricanes forward Eric Staal (12) is congratulated by teammates defenseman Michal Jordan (47) defenseman Andrej Sekera (4) and forward Jordan Staal (11) after his 3rd period goal against the Montreal Canadiens at PNC Arena. The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Weal was an early favorite and lost the third-line center job to Mikhail Vorobyev in training camp.

Now, after an injury to James van Riemsdyk, theya€™re linemates. Funny how team sports work and for a deep thinker like Weal, hea€™s trying to cut out the agitation of starting on the outside looking in and just play hockey. Tuesday Weal found himself on the left wing with Vorobyev in the middle and Wayne Simmonds on the right.

a€œI just gotta go for it. Cana€™t sit back and just wait for things to happen,a€ he said. a€œI have to do what I do best and make players around me better. Thata€™s what Ia€™m doing when Ia€™m playing my best hockey. Just have to go out there and do my thing and the rest will take care of itself.a€

During the offseason, general manager Ron Hextall repeatedly namedropped Weal when asked about the impending competition that Vorobyev ultimately won. His message to Weal at the time was not to be his own worst enemy, and after starting the season as an extra forward and not in the lineup, that might still be the case.

Weal is typically one of the last players on the ice, a rink rat who won't leave willingly. He exited Tuesdaya€™s morning skate a little earlier because the extra skating is usually reserved for those who are scratched that night.

a€œSometimes you just kind of want to go, a€˜Jordan, get off the ice and relax a little bit,a€™ because hea€™s so driven to be the best he can be,a€ Hextall said back in July. a€œIta€™s something he can get better at in terms of the mental part of it. Sometimes you have to let things go, but when he gets on a roll, as we saw a couple years ago, hea€™s a good player.a€ A 

Weal, 26, signed a two-year $3.5 million contract last summer. He was coming off a season in which he split time between the NHL and American Hockey League and racked up four goals and seven points in his final seven games with the Flyers. He was left unprotected in the Vegas expansion draft and was one day away from becoming an unrestricted free agent when the team re-signed him after lengthy negotiations. They thought he was on the cusp of being a productive NHL player.

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