Like a Dean Lombardi built hockey team, we’ve built our 2012 Kings Development Camp preview series from the net out. First, we checked in with goalie prospect JF Berube. Then, we chatted with Kevin Gravel from the blueline. Now, we turn our attention to a pair of forwards selected at the 2010 NHL Draft held in Los Angeles. Here we’ll focus on Jordan Weal and later we’ll post some stuff with Tyler Toffoli.
It’s tough to know exactly what more people could have wanted from Weal. When taken by the Kings he was coming off of a very impressive 102 point season with the Regina Pats in the WHL. The following season he increased his goal total from 35 to 43 – this time without linemate Jordan Eberle. But, this past season may have been his finest to date though. He finished the year with 41 goals, a career-high 116 points, cut his penalty minutes nearly in half (going from 70 to just 36) and was a career-best plus-31. Weal was also involved in a staggering 51% of his team’s goals, in route to leading the Pats back to the playoffs.
Earlier this year, he came on MayorsManor and talked about the legacy he’s leaving behind in Regina – one of the most storied franchises in junior hockey. Weal also opened up about the influence of his parents and the maturation process he’s been undergoing the past few seasons. Now, as he prepares for another summer camp in LA, he returns to share a few more thoughts with us…
MM: You’ve been to a few camps in LA already. Any opening thoughts about coming in this time around?
JW: The thing about the Kings organization right now – there are so many young guys, they’re all really good guys and they have tremendous hockey abilities. So, it’s fun to get on the ice with them, play hockey and do the thing we love to do. It’s just awesome and it’s always a treat to be around the guys again.
MM: Has it settled in yet that your junior days are behind you?
JW: It’s different. The mentality is different going into this summer, getting ready to try and go make a pro team. I had a lot of great times in Regina. They gave me so many opportunities there when I was young to get on my feet in that league and really get a lot of confidence. I couldn’t ask for more than what they did for me. It was a great experience.
MM: What does that mean specifically, what are you doing differently?
JW: Nothing too much different. But, I can kinda feel it. I’m starting to get a little older and put on a little weight, which is coming a little easier. So, that’s giving me confidence to know I can play up with the big boys. In a league with men you’re playing against guys with kids and they’re trying to make a living for their families. So, it’s definitely a transition and you can’t take it lightly. You have to be prepared to battle. That’s one thing I love to do and that’s why I love to play hockey so much – it’s the competitiveness of it. Hopefully I can carry that over into the season.
MM: Where is your weight right now?
JW: I’m at about 180 lbs.
MM: So, that’s 10 lbs up from where you were last year in camp.
JW: Yeah, I put on a little weight when I was in Manchester and it’s been coming on pretty easily. It’s not like when I used to put on weight and it was just food weight and stuff like that. It’s coming on a little easier now.
MM: Speaking of Manchester, Ray Kaunisto won’t be in camp this time around. Who’s going to lead the chirping now?
JW: I’m not too sure. He’s a funny dude and it was always fun to hear him get going. But, I don’t know. It might get a little competitive and guys might be getting at it each other. So, it will be interesting to see.
MM: Over the last few years, guys like Toffoli and Brandon Kozun have received a lot of the attention among the forward prospects. Coming off the season you just had, do you feel like now you’re kind of coming into your own and should be included in that mix of names?
JW: Those are two really good players and they’ve deserved every accolade they’ve received. Hopefully, yeah – hopefully I can keep on improving. When I go to these prospect things I just try to be like a sponge and take in as much as I can. Hopefully I can do that and learn new things, new ways to become a better player so I can give myself the best opportunity to impress the Kings organization and the Monarchs organization.
JW: I’m sure the systems are going to be a little different, probably not too much of a change though. It should be interesting. We have a new strength and conditioning coach too (Ryan van Asten). So, I’m looking forward to meeting him too. It should be different and that’s exciting.
MM: Talk about the Kings recent run to the Stanley Cup. Was it something you were watching very closely?
JW: I took a little trip right after my season ended, so I didn’t see much of the second round. But, after that, they were playing some of the best hockey anybody’s seen in a long time. How stingy they were defensively, as a team, that’s pretty unheard of. Only losing four games in the whole playoffs? That’s crazy. And to do in the league now, where every team is so good, it’s pretty awesome. So, yeah, I was watching every game and it was pretty cool to see them win the Cup.
Weal also shared that later this month he’s headed to New York for a little family vacation.
“That’s going to be the big vacation for the summer. My dad really wants to go, so he’s taking the whole fam. We’re renting a house close to downtown Manhattan and everything should be within walking distance. We might be going to the Yankees-Red Sox game too. It should be really fun.”
He even admitted to being a bit of a Yankees fan growing up.
Which should only mean by the time Drew Doughty reads this he’ll be purchasing some more Blue Jays hats to pass around.
Weal has been a guest on MayorsManor a number of times though the years. For your reference, we’ve linked to several of those articles down below.
You can also get a full look at the roster for this year’s Development Camp by clicking here.
The Hockey News ranks the Kings prospects – Spring 2012