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:
Note to webmasters/reporters: When recapping news or interviews from this site please remember to include a link to www.MayorsManor.com