Logical choices for Vegas as Flyers prepare to lose player in expansion draft

Logical choices for Vegas as Flyers prepare to lose player in expansion draft

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Michael Raffl, Matt Read, Taylor Leier or maybe an offer for unrestricted free agent Jordan Weal?
 
Or perhaps 27-year-old defenseman Michael Del Zotto, who will not be re-signed by the Flyers.
 
Those are the logical Flyers choices for the Vegas Golden Knights, whose expansion draft list will be publicly unveiled Wednesday night as part of the NHL Awards gala in Vegas.

And while the Golden Knights will select Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury as their starting goalie, they still need to draft two more, per the rules of the draft.
 
Vegas general manager George McPhee is obviously familiar with Michal Neuvirth, whom the Flyers left unprotected. McPhee was Washington's general manager when the Capitals selected Neuvirth in the second round (34th overall) of the 2006 NHL draft.  McPhee, however, also knows how injury-prone Neuvirth is and admits that has kept Neuvirth from becoming an elite goalie in the league.
 
Given the other goalies available who don’t have a history of injuries, it doesn’t make sense for Vegas to select Neuvirth.
 
If any of the Flyers coveted, young defensive prospects were draft eligible, you can bet the Golden Knights would be taking one of them. Fortunately for the Flyers, that’s not the case under the expansion draft rules.
 
Del Zotto is interesting because of his age, his experience – eight seasons in the league – and, despite his defensive deficiencies, is a puck-moving defenseman who can assist on the power play.
 
Bellemare was a Flyers assistant captain last season and in terms of line play, like Raffl, can move up and down the lineup.
 
Vegas must select one player from the other 30 NHL rosters.
 
“We’re in a reasonable position,” Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said last week. “We’re gonna lose a good player, make no mistake. Whoever we lose, we’re gonna lose a good player.”
 
McPhee told reporters on Tuesday, he had at least six deals already in place with teams. He also said some picks won’t stick around very long.
 
“We knew that from the start that we were going to claim 30 players,” McPhee said. “But, your roster can only be 23. ... We understand and I don't know that the terminology is the right terminology, but people call it 'throwaway picks.'
 
“There are some teams where there isn't a whole lot to do and you're going to make a throwaway pick rather than taking on a contract that you don't like.  So, there will be some of those claims, people that won't be qualified, and that sort of thing.”

With client unprotected, Jordan Weal's agent has talked to Vegas Golden Knights

With client unprotected, Jordan Weal's agent has talked to Vegas Golden Knights

The gamble Flyers general manager Ron Hextall took in regards to leaving forward Jordan Weal unprotected has heated up speculation.
 
J.P. Barry, who represents Weal, confirmed on Tuesday morning that he has spoken to Vegas general manager George McPhee.
 
"I've discussed all our free agents with them," Barry said. "Including Jordan."
 
Had the Flyers protected Weal, who is unrestricted, the Golden Knights would not have been allowed to contact Vegas or make an offer.
 
Since the Flyers left Weal unprotected, the Golden Knights can.
 
Barry would not say whether Vegas has made an offer, but told CSNPhilly.com on Sunday that he would entertain other teams' interest in his client if he doesn't settle on a contract with the Flyers by July 1.
 
The Flyers and Weal's camp have agreed to length of contract, Barry said. While both sides are not "far apart" on money, they still have no resolution.
 
Vegas is within an exclusive 72-hour window right now to negotiate with pending free agents. Its window to free agency ends Wednesday morning.
 
The Golden Knights will publicly unveil their expansion draft choices Wednesday night in Las Vegas as part of the NHL Awards gala.

Jordan Weal, Flyers 'not that far off' new deal despite expansion draft availability

Jordan Weal, Flyers 'not that far off' new deal despite expansion draft availability

J.P. Barry says his client, forward Jordan Weal, still wants to be a Flyer and that the two sides aren’t worlds apart in re-signing.

“We’re still negotiating with Hexy,” Barry said Sunday morning of general manager Ron Hextall. “Not that far off.”

Both sides reportedly have agreed on term – length of the deal – but not the money.

Vegas can make an offer on the unrestricted free agent but indications are the Golden Knights aren’t leaning that way.

It’s possible Hextall already has an agreement in place with Vegas to lay off Weal for something else that’s coming in the week ahead (see full Flyers' protected list).

Barry didn’t deny Sunday that he would like to better gauge Weal’s market value by waiting until July 1 but said his client is very happy as a Flyer and would prefer re-signing here.

“He likes Philly still and hopefully, we will still get a contract done before July 1,” Barry said.

The 25-year-old Weal was part of the Luke Schenn-Vinny Lecavalier deal with Los Angeles in January 2016. He got his chance this past season when Travis Konecny suffered a knee and ankle injury in February against St. Louis.

The Flyers discovered that Weal could be a productive player and move around the lineup. He plays above his size and impressed the coaching staff with his tenacity.

Flyers coach Dave Hakstol used Weal on Valtteri Filppula's line with Wayne Simmonds toward the end of the season. The line showed productivity and chemistry. Weal had four goals and six points in 10 games with that unit to finish off the season.

Weal had eight goals, 12 points in 23 games overall.