Wellwood returns: rapid reaction

- July 13th, 2012

EDMONTON — The Winnipeg Jets are bringing back Kyle Wellwood for a second season, after the two sides agreed to terms on a one-year deal on Friday afternoon.

The deal is reportedly for $1.6 season, which is fair value, considering Wellwood is coming off a campaign that saw him produce career highs in goals (18) and points (47), despite missing five games.

For the sake of comparing apples and oranges, the Jets also re-signed Jim Slater on a three-year deal worth $1.6 per annum prior to free agency and the Columbus Blue Jackets recently paid Nick Foligno (who also had 47 points last season) just over three million per season on a three-year deal.

At the end of his conference call Friday, Wellwood said he never gave any consideration to playing in the KHL or in Switzerland because he has a young family. He also said his agent was in contact with the Jets since free agency opened and suggested that returning was his priority from the beginning. It was simply of finding agreement on terms and contract value.

Can’t say we’re really surprised that Wellwood is returning, since he provided great value on that one-year deal for $700,000 that he signed last September.

Wellwood is versatile, crafty, can play on the power play and is smart defensively. Depending on what you need from him, he can play in your Top-6 in a scoring role or play on the checking line and produce some offence.

The only thing working against him was the fact the Jets were looking to get bigger up front.

Since the free agent class wasn’t overstocked with talent, it was going to be interesting to see what kind of interest Wellwood generated on the open market.

There have been times during his career when he’s gone through a good year, bad year cycle but he really seemed to find a home with the Jets last season.

He played well under head coach Claude Noel and could have easily topped 20 goals, if he hadn’t injured his ankle late in the season.

We’re a little surprised it took Wellwood nearly two weeks to get a deal done, but had heard his camp was taking things slow, since there were a lot of teams in a holding pattern when it came to pursuing free agency and trades.

Earlier this week, there were some reports that a few teams in Switzerland were looking at Wellwood and the interest wasn’t surprising either. However, it was hard to believe that Wellwood was going to have to head overseas after his strong season.

In the end, he won’t have to.

Wellwood’s return won’t make the Jets harder to play against, but he brings a lot of qualities to the table that a team can use.

Come September or October, it will be interesting to see where Wellwood slots into the pecking order.

His hockey sense and passing ability might make him a good fit to play with newcomer Olli Jokinen and perhaps Evander Kane or Andrew Ladd.

The other natural fit would be to create an all former Toronto Maple Leafs line with Nik Antropov and Alexei Ponikarovsky.

That’s a discussion for another day.

For now, the Jets add another piece to the puzzle as they attempt to improve their roster to make a run at a playoff spot.

Categories: Hockey

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1 comment

  1. HydroDebt50Billionby2020 says:

    This is a pretty fair-sized wage bump – Can he produce ?

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