Ron Hextall’s patience paid off.
The Flyers’ general manager didn’t panic, didn’t take his offer off the table when blossoming left winger Jordan Weal talked with several other NHL teams, including the Vancouver Canucks, his hometown team.
“Ron and I have been in discussions for a few weeks,” said J.P. Barry, Weal’s agent. “We said we would always come back and discuss things with Philly after we looked at some other options.”
On Thursday, Weal, who would have become an unrestricted free agent Saturday, signed a two-year deal with an annual cap hit of $1.75 million.
“It became very apparent that Ron values Jordan as a player and never wanted to lose him,” Barry said. “I commend him for staying the course and convincing Jordan that the Flyers were the best option.”
Hextall said if he wasn’t able to re-sign Weal, he may have pursued a veteran forward (Justin Williams?) in the free-agent market.
“But now that we have Jordan in the fold, we’re going to hold off there,” Hextall said. “We do believe in Jordan; we believe in his character…..We believe Jordan is going to be a part of our future here. Quite frankly, we worked hard at that. We’ve been hammering away at that for a while.”
After being promoted from the AHL’s Phantoms, Weal, 25, was used on the first, second and third lines last season and finished with eight goals in 23 games.
“It’s awesome,” Weal said of staying with the Flyers. “They gave me a chance last year to play with some great players, and I think this is a group that’s heading in the right direction. We have a lot of talent and skill, especially with some of the additions we’ve made. I’m just really excited to get back and start up the year the way we finished it.”
Weal played the last 10 games last season on an effective line that included Valtteri Filppula and Wayne Simmonds.
Development camp. Forty players will participate in the Flyers’ development camp starting Friday in Voorhees.
Nolan Patrick, selected No. 2 overall in the recent NHL draft, will not participate because he is recovering from sports-hernia surgery.
Most of the players the Flyers selected in last month’s draft will attend, along with top prospects such as Oskar Lindblom, German Rubtsov, Mike Vecchione, Travis Sanheim, Phil Myers, Carter Hart, and Felix Sandstrom.
Player development coaches John Riley, Kjell Samuelsson, Brett Hextall, and Brady Robinson will conduct on-ice drills and oversee the camp.
The camp, which is free and open to the public, runs through July 12, though the July 10 sessions will consist of off-ice activities. The July 12 session will be held in Stone Harbor, where the Trial on the Isle competition will begin at 9 a.m. at the 96th Street beach.
The schedule for Friday and next Saturday: goaltenders from 8 a.m. to 10:15 a.mm, and from 2:45 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.; defensemen from 10:30-11:30 a.m., and from 5:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.; and forwards from 9:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., and from 5:15 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.