VOORHEES, N.J. — The last time we saw Jordan Weal in the Flyers' lineup was the final game of last season against the Islanders.
Tomorrow afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center, Weal, a 24-year-old center, will make his season debut at left wing on a new line with Sean Couturier and Jakub Voracek.
It’s one of three line shakeups coach Dave Hakstol instituted on Friday at Skate Zone after Weal’s call-up from the Phantoms, as Travis Konecny was placed on injured reserve for the next month to six weeks with a left ankle and knee injury (see story).
This is a different look for Couturier, as this line will obviously not be a checking unit like the one he’s been centering with Nick Cousins and Matt Read.
“Coots can still play that two-way role, no matter the make-up of his line,” Hakstol said. “He’s still going to play his game and we’re not asking him to change his role … That line has a similar look to early in the year with T.K. on that left side.”
Weal is the AHL’s second leading scorer (45 points) and tallied 15 goals at Lehigh Valley this season. The Flyers have scored just 13 goals over the last 10 games and could use a few more right now.
He was mostly a center with the Phantoms, not left wing.
“Hockey is hockey,” Weal said. “You just got to go out and play. I get to play with some great players. Go out and work with them, move the puck and create some offense.”
Weal never really got a chance with the Flyers last season after coming here from Los Angeles as part of the Luke Schenn and Vinny Lecavalier deal with the Kings. He played three games, then injured his shoulder during a morning skate in New Jersey and missed 26 of the club’s final 27 games.
In training camp this past fall, he was a victim of numbers. That said, Weal has produced in the AHL.
“I’ve gotten great reports all the way from Day 1 when he went down,” Hakstol said. “The numbers speak for themselves but more importantly, it’s the feedback we’ve gotten from everybody in terms of his play … He’s obviously an offensive player, a skill player that creates offense …”
This will be Weal’s first time playing with Couturier. He played with R.J. Umberger and Voracek in the regular season finale.
“He’s a smart, fast player,” Voracek said. “He’s got a lot of skill. He can bring a lot to the lineup.”
There’s some pressure on Weal given the Flyers' scoring woes.
“Just play my game,” Weal said. “We got so much skill on this team here. If we play our game, work hard harder than the other team, we’re going to create some offense and it’s going to start going in.”
• Read was hit by a shot from Michael Del Zotto below the belt line and was singing a different tune after practice. “My wife won’t like this,” Read quipped. He’s expected to play on Saturday.
• Del Zotto (bone bruise/leg) said he’s healthy enough to play but doesn’t expect to play until next week’s road trip to Western Canada … Michal Neuvirth will start in goal against San Jose.
• Other line changes: Claude Giroux will center Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds. Nick Cousins centers Michael Raffl and Read.