Mark Yannetti, Director of Scouting for the LA Kings, knows all too well the trials and tribulations organizations go through in finding, developing, and hopefully acclimating young players into professional hockey careers. He’s been one of GM Dean Lombardi’s key lieutenants since the current regime took over in 2006 and has been an influential figure in not only helping determine which players get selected at the NHL Draft, but also which prospects the team ultimately decides to give the green light to.
One such player receiving tremendous consideration of late is forward Jordan Weal. Now a third-year pro, the former Regina Pats star has continued his offensive production at the AHL level, having taken over as the Manchester Monarchs all-time leading points producer in the post-season this past weekend. Of course, the ultimate question centers on if he will be given a fair opportunity to make the NHL next season. Yannetti joined us for a Calder Cup podcast and shared some interesting insights on where things stand…
Yannetti on Weal’s overall development:
“It has taken a little longer, but look at Jordan Weal’s development. He’s an NHL player playing in the American Hockey League right now. Every single perceived deficiency that Jordan Weal has had since the day we drafted him, obviously people talk about size. That antiquated, dinosaur way of thinking in the NHL ‘size only, size only.’ When people look at our team they talk about ‘size, size, size.’ It is such a narrow-minded and limiting way of looking at things. It is such an antiquated way of looking at things. But right off the bat, he has got to overcome his size. OK, fine, so he overcomes his size. Then he has perceived defensive deficiencies, so what does he do? That’s the next part of his curriculum. Now it is puck possession. Puck possession as a smaller guy presents different issues. That’s the next part of his curriculum. Year, upon year, upon year you see him adapt and then excel. You’ve seen arguably one of the two best players in the American Hockey League in Weal this year.”
On how Weal has adapted his attitude and accepted to the knocks on his game:
“The one thing about Jordan, he doesn’t accept any of those. He doesn’t accept it for one second. Now, there are different ways of not accepting things. He doesn’t accept it and what he does is perseveres. What he does is he accepts the challenge of it and then he addresses the challenge of it and then he conquers the challenge of it. He’s done that every step of the way. Fair or unfair, there have probably been a few more roadblocks placed in front of Jordan just because of his size. I guess that is life as a smaller player in the NHL. But, when you see a guy like Jordan succeed and deal with that adversity, dealing with that adversity is what got us our second cup. You couldn’t deal with any more adversity than our team dealt with that year. You see him deal with that adversity and for me, that is the final piece, it could be the biggest piece. Dealing with adversity in the NHL is one of the key things that differentiate all that great players. The one who can make things happen when things aren’t going well. The one who can make things go well when things aren’t going well. You’ve seen Jordan; he is a case study in it for me. For me, for us, for our organization, for everything we hold, that is the culmination of development. That’s the culmination of the curriculum or the culture that Dean and the staff have tried to promote. For me, that is the final step in the puzzle for him.”
On if Jordan Weal will be on the Kings roster next year:
“I don’t think you can say anyone is on the roster. You can obviously say Drew; we can talk about the core. But Jordan Weal is a leading candidate for one of the spots that is going to be open. You can say Mersch, Weal and Shore – all those guys are competing; O’Neill even – for what looks like a minimum of two to three spots. Depending on how things work, it could be five spots, who knows? It looks like there is a potential of three roster spots open, how could he not be a strong, strong consideration for that spot?”
More from Yannetti can be found here, where he goes into detail on the development process of Kings prospects, plus talks Michael Mersch, Derek Forbort, Colin Miller, Justin Auger, and lots more.
MORE FROM KINGS MANAGEMENT:
Kings GM Dean Lombardi Talks up Jordan Weal
Lombardi Has ‘Gut-wrenching’ Meeting with Jarret Stoll
Kings Contracts: Heating up, Cooling off, and the Buyout
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So stoll and Williams are two of the spots. Who would be spots 3-5?
We broke it all down in detail here: http://mayorsmanor.com/2015/05/kings-contracts-heating-up-cooling-off-and-the-buyout/
Amart or Greene could be expendable assets if Forbert/McNabb/McBain/Miller step up or VV if he gets acquitted
Crown Royal says
Unfortunately for Weal there’s a Suttersaurus coaching the Kings. Weal should make the team next year and should be, most probably, playing wing on the third line. It will be interesting to see if the Kings hierarchy can tame the Suttersaurus into playing the best players.
Neil Shafton says
Stoll will be gone, Richards and Williams will probably be gone so there are 2 spots since Shore is the replacement for Stoll or Richards take your pick. The next area that could see 2 more potential spots available are on defense. With Regehr retiring a unknown about the outcome of the Voynov drama should make that 2 more potential spots.
Pencil in Forbort for one of the defensive spots, and possibly Colin Miller for another. Miller has really opened some eyes, especially when he was a participant in the AHL Skills competition in hardest shot and fastest skater. Miller clocked a 105+ slap shot to win that, and was the fastest skater in the skating competition. Now he might not be seen as a guy who could start the year with the Kings, but he has certainly made it known if they were to trade someone, or suffer an injury, he could be the 1st call up from Ontario if necessary on defense. The Kings have some options but because of CAP issues might be better off using Miller if Lombardi and Sutter believe he can make the jump to the NHL. They would like to sign Sekera but he would be looking at what Voynov is making, and then the possibility of Voynov taking a plea, and being allowed to play on his working Visa. All this could happen before the beginning of the regular season, since teams have up until then to be at or under the CAP.
The 5th spot could be the result of a trade which I believe Mersch is making a very good case for being a 3rd line LW. The Kings don’t have or haven’t had a guy who will go to the blue paint, and not move and has the hands and skill to put pucks in, tip pucks and be a screen during the power play.
Personally, Dwight King is a big LW who has those great analytic s CORSI/FENWICK and puck possession, but does not have the goals to show for it. I am not sure if that is something that is just not going to happen for him, or he is only really effective if he is playing on the 1st or 2nd line. He is not a Top 6 forward, and he isn’t really a guy who has made his living standing in front the the oppositions net like a Johan Franson. Mersch isn’t Franson, but he is more like Franson than what I have seen from Dwight King.
Mersch and Weal have both played a bulk of the season together in Manchester and they have good chemistry. Weal has said he will move to RW since the Kings have a few too many centers, so if you were to slot Shore between those 2 players it could really help with some of the scoring issues the Kings seems to struggle with almost every season.
If you have watched Weal especially lately he looks like another smaller RW that wears number 88 for that team in the finals right now. He might not have the same offensive numbers, or projected numbers, but he certainly has the speed and puck handling skill that can open things up for other players.
Regardless the Kings are going to have some decisions to make and the CAP is going to really be part of that equation because they are going to need to pinch every penny they have to put out a team that can compete and get back to their former identity.
Crown Royal says
I agree with pretty much everything you’re saying. A third line of Mersch, Shore, Weal would be intriguing, however I find it nearly impossible to believe Sutter would play three rookies on the same line.
Mersch may need some work on his skating. He’s a little slow at this point. He reminds me of Andrew Burnette who played effectively for the Wild. He’s a little better skater than Brunette already but definitely can stand some improvement.
Eventually players like King, Clifford, and Lewis are going to have to step up offensively or depart. The Kings are in dire need of more secondary scoring.
In addition to Stoll and Williams, the obvious 3rd spot is Richards. Less obvious is AA–who will doubtlessly need to compete to keep a spot–and then one of the guys mentioned in that article (e.g., Brown). Though if they move Brown, Id be surprised if they didn’t do something with Williams as it would free up some money.
Listening to Yannetti, it sounds like Miller is not good enough in his own end to make a squad that has DS coaching it. It does sound like Forbort could stick as a part of a third pair/alternate given how good he is in his own end. Realistically we have 2 openings (DD, JM, BM,MG, AM return) and one will probably be filled by Sekera. That leaves Forbort, Miller, and I assume McBain for those spots (all assuming Voynov doesnt return).
Tony Geinzer says
Does that mean the Ice Kings are Straight Up, All American Gangsta Villians outside of Los Angeles County? Sadly, if the 2014 Stanley Cup Finals Game 5 Win was the last Playoff Game for the Kings for a while, the rest of the Americas would have looked at it that way instead of a Powerhouse Hockey Club.