Height, weight: 5-10, 171
Recent: Tied for the Monarchs team lead with 12 assists and 14 points. Leads the Monarchs with a plus/minus of plus-8. Tied for 14th place in the AHL with 14 points. Tied for fourth in the league with 12 assists, and his seven power-play assists rank second.
Background: Set amateur career highs in assists (75), points (116) and plus-minus (plus-31) for the Western Hockey League’s Regina Pats during the 2011-12 season. Tied for fourth in the WHL in scoring (116) and fourth in the league in assists (75). Led the Pats and tied for fifth in the WHL with 96 points (43-53-96) in 72 games during their 2010-11 campaign. Ranked first on the Pats in assists (67) and second in points (102) during the 2009-10 season. Ranked second in assists (67) and third in points (102) in the WHL that year. Became the first 17-year-old player in 10 years to record 100 points in a WHL season with an assist against Saskatoon on March 10, 2010. Led all of the league’s 16-year-olds with 70 points (16-54-70) in 65 games during the 2009-10 season. Led the team and was tied for first among WHL rookies in assists (54) during the 2008-09 season. Finished his Pats career with 385 points (135-250-385) in 282 games. Ranked fourth on Regina’s all-time scoring list with 385 points.
2012-13: Set career highs in games played (63), goals (15), assists (18), points (33), penalty minutes (38) and plus/minus (plus-8) in 63 games with the Monarchs. Ranked fifth on the team in assists (18). Tied for second on the team with six power-play goals … Recorded two assists and four penalty minutes in four games during the 2013 Calder Cup Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
What’s next: Weal is accustomed to being at the top of the leader board throughout his hockey career. His rookie season in Manchester was a shock to the young forward as he found himself a healthy scratch throughout most of the first half of the season as National Hockey League players were locked out and playing in Manchester.“I think confidence is huge, especially for a guy like him,” said Monarchs head coach Mark Morris. “He’s been the man at every level that he’s played at. He was a key guy in the WHL to put up big numbers and, obviously, the first time you’re facing a situation where you’re not in the lineup, that can be a serious blow to your ego.”
Weal is willing to learn and wants to improve his game. He spends time studying the game and watching video with the coaches. He is constantly critiquing himself and is most critical of himself when he has a bad shift. “He looks within and I think that’s a great quality to have,” said Morris. “He’s open to improving his game and realizes that he’s got some areas that he still needs work on before he’s ready to play at the NHL level, but having that honest assessment gives you the opportunity to make that jump.”
The second-year center has improved on many areas of his game. He moves the puck with more efficiency. Weal has a tendency to puck possess a little bit more than most players and now he’s turning into a more effective player by distributing the puck. This season, he’s become a key member of the Monarchs’ power-play and penalty-kill units. He’s on one of the team’s top lines and he can really make those around him very effective.
“I think that some of the challenges that he faces are just natural ones,” said Morris on Weal’s development. “Making himself stronger and more explosive, but defensively, he’s getting more and more responsible. He’s a great faceoff man. To know that he’s a great shootout guy is also very comforting. He doesn’t waste many opportunities when it’s just him and the goalie.”