Mike Halford

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 25: Jordan Weal #19 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates against the Boston Bruins during the second period at Wells Fargo Center on January 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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Flyers, Weal avoid arbitration with one-year deal

Jordan Weal had filed for salary arbitration with the Flyers, and was scheduled to have his hearing on July 29.

Well, scratch that.

On Monday, both parties avoided that unpleasant piece of business by agreeing to a one-year deal worth a reported $650,000 at the NHL level (per CBC). It’s also believed to be a two-way contract.

More, from the Flyers:

Weal, 24, was acquired from the Los Angeles Kings on January 6, 2016. He saw the first NHL action of his career last year, making his debut for the Kings and appearing in 10 games before coming to Philadelphia, where he appeared in four contests.

Weal has been a really good scorer at the AHL level, and captured Calder Cup MVP honors in 2015. He’s definitely got some talent, but had a tough time finding minutes with the Flyers last season (he was the lone roster player acquired in the deal that sent Luke Schenn and Vincent Lecavalier to L.A.)

The knock on Weal is that he isn’t very big — listed at 5-foot-10, 179 pounds — and will probably be hard pressed to see a ton of ice time in Philly next year. Of course, he could stick around the parent club and avoid the AHL because he’s waiver eligible, and the Flyers won’t want to lose him for nothing.

Vegas GM search down to two — Tallon, Maciver not among them

Dale Tallon
AP
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Las Vegas owner Bill Foley has narrowed his general manager search down from seven candidates to two — and while he didn’t reveal who they were, he did shed some light on their respective qualities.

“I can tell you the people we talked to are all well-known in the hockey community and are well-respected,” Foley said Monday, per the Review-Journal. “They’re all very smart and they’ve done different things for different teams.

“Some are strong on the (salary) cap. Some are strong when it comes to assessing talent. But they all have strong backgrounds.”

Foley classified the two finalists as “primary candidates,” whittled down from an original group of seven interviewees. He also added he hopes to have a decision made within the next few days. That would put Vegas’ GM search ahead of schedule — earlier this month, Foley said he hoped to have a GM in place by the beginning of August.

And while we don’t know who’s in in the mix, we do know two rumored candidates that are out.

Those would be current Florida Panthers president Dale Tallon and current Blackhawks assistant GM Norm Maciver. Tallon, who was “promoted” from the GM role in Florida this offseason, was allowed to speak with the Vegas group after Foley was granted permission by Panthers owner Vincent Viola.

But Foley never reached out.

As for Maciver — “considered one of the top hockey minds in the league,” per the Review-Journal — he wasn’t contacted by Foley either.

Maciver, who appeared in over 500 games as a player, has been Stan Bowman’s assistant in Chicago since 2012 and reportedly interviewed with Pens CEO David Morehouse about Pittsburgh’s GM gig three years ago — a job that eventually went to Jim Rutherford.

Killorn, Johansson, Schwartz scheduled to open arbitration hearings

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 22:  Alex Killorn #17 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal against Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Consol Energy Center on May 22, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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Tampa Bay’s Alex Killorn, Washington’s Marcus Johansson and St. Louis’ Jaden Schwartz have been scheduled as the first three of 25 salary arbitration hearings, the NHLPA announced on Monday.

Killorn, Johansson and Schwartz are set for July 20, the first day of the arbitration window (which runs until Aug. 4).

Here’s the full list:

Arizona Coyotes
Michael Stone – August 4, 2016

Colorado Avalanche
Tyson Barrie – July 29, 2016
Mikhail Grigorenko – July 22, 2016

Detroit Red Wings
Jared Coreau *
Danny DeKeyser – July 28, 2016

Minnesota Wild
Jordan Schroeder – July 27, 2016

Nashville Predators
Calle Jarnkrok – August 4, 2016
Petter Granberg – August 3, 2016

New York Rangers
Kevin Hayes – July 27, 2016
Chris Kreider – July 22, 2016
Dylan McIlrath – July 21, 2016
Jonathan Miller – August 2, 2016

New Jersey Devils
Kyle Palmieri *

Ottawa Senators
Mike Hoffman – August 4, 2016

Philadelphia Flyers
Brandon Manning – August 2, 2016
Brayden Schenn – July 25, 2016
Jordan Weal – July 29, 2016

St. Louis Blues
Jaden Schwartz – July 20, 2016

Tampa Bay Lightning
Alex Killorn – July 20, 2016
Vladislav Namestnikov – July 29, 2016

Toronto Maple Leafs
Frank Corrado – July 26, 2016
Peter Holland – July 25, 2016
Martin Marincin – August 2, 2016

Washington Capitals
Marcus Johansson – July 20, 2016

CLUB ELECTED FILINGS

Detroit Red Wings

Petr Mrazek – July 27, 2016

(asterisk signifies settlement)

Schwartz, who’s hit the 25-goal mark in two of his last three seasons, has never been through arbitration before but, in 2014, sat out the early part of the Blues’ training camp while hammering out a new deal.

The two sides eventually agreed to a two-year, $4.7 million extension.

Johansson went to arbitration with the Caps last season, and was rewarded a one-year, $3.75 million deal. That came after he sought a salary of $4.75 million, while the Capitals filed a request of $3 million.

Killorn’s situation is interesting, as the 26-year-old — coming off a two-year, $5.1 million deal — has been a terrific playoff performer for the Bolts over the last two years. He’s certainly deserving of a raise, but it will be difficult for GM Steve Yzerman to negotiate, as Yzerman also needs to reach new deals for RFAs Vladislav Namestnikov, and budding star Nikita Kucherov.

Jets’ Raffl heads back to Austria after injury-ravaged year

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 13:  Thomas Raffl #5 of Austria celebrates with his teammates after Thomas Hundertpfund #27 scored a goal in the first period against Tuukka Rask #40 of Finland during the Men's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group B game on day six of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 13, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Thomas Raffl’s North American tour is over.

Raffl, the older brother of Philly’s Michael Raffl, has returned to Red Bull Salzburg of the Austrian League after spending last season with the Jets organization.

Raffl, 30, never got to play for Winnipeg, despite impressing during his training camp tryout and earning a one-year deal from the club.

He was dispatched to AHL Manitoba at the start of the year, with many assuming he’d eventually get a call-up to the Jets. But a series of injuries — separated collarbone, broken rib, broken jaw and, finally, an undisclosed lower-body ailments — totally prevented him from gaining any sort of momentum.

“Every time it looked like you were seeing the signs of his game as to why he was put under an NHL contract, as a big man trying to get his speed back up — he was back on the IR,” Moose head coach Keith McCambridge said, per the Winnipeg Sun.

At 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds, Raffl’s size and decent offensive production in the American League (five goals, 10 points in 31 games) had some thinking he could catch on with another NHL club.

But instead, it’s back to the Red Bull team Raffl starred for prior to coming overseas. He had great success in his home country in ’14-15 — Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg, then three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

Prospects Fleury, McKeown looking to crack talented young Carolina blueline

2014 NHL Draft - Portraits - Round 1
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We’ve written before about all the good, young, intriguing talent GM Ron Francis has assembled in Carolina.

Come next year, even more of it could be on display.

A defense that already features Justin Faulk (24 years old), Ryan Murphy (23), Jaccob Slavin (22), Brett Pesce (21) and Noah Hanifin (19) could get another injection of youth next season, with former first-rounder Haydn Fleury (19) and Roland McKeown (20) looking to make the jump.

McKeown was acquired from Los Angeles in the Andrej Sekera trade, and actually played alongside Fleury for Team Canada at the world juniors. Described by ‘Canes amateur scouting director Tony MacDonald as a “world-class skater,” McKeown looks like he’ll challenge for a spot with the ‘Canes this fall.

More, from the News & Observer:

The 6-1, 195-pound blueliner was acquired from the Los Angeles Kings, along with the first-round pick that became Julien Gauthier, in exchange for Andrej Sekera at the 2015 trade deadline.

In his first full season in the Carolina organization, he finished third in OHL Defenseman of the Year voting after his fourth campaign with the Kingston Frontenacs, tallying 42 points as team captain and leading Kingston to the best regular-season record in the conference. He called it a “special year” and said he developed substantially “in all aspects.”

Fleury, the seventh overall pick in 2014, is currently attending his third consecutive prospects camp. He’s been brought along slower than some of Carolina’s other defensive draftees — like Hanifin, for example — but there’s reason to believe he could challenge for minutes this year.

“I went back to junior the last two years and got better at the areas I needed to get better at to give myself the best chance to make the team this fall,” Fleury said. “I’m going to come into main camp in the fall and do my best to take that spot.”

The biggest question is how many spots Carolina will have available on defense. One was cleared out when Francis bought out the final year of James Wisniewski’s contract, and it remains to be seen how big a role Czech defender Michal Jordan will play next year — if at all, as Jordan is still unsigned.

Whatever the case, though, one thing is clear. The ‘Canes blueline has a very bright future.

(Oh, and by the way, Carolina has yet another good young d-man in the system — Jake Bean, the 13th overall pick in this year’s draft.)