The Winnipeg Jets, who earlier this offseason agreed to terms with free agents Alexei Ponikarovsky and Olli Jokinen, re-signed Wellwood on Friday, July 13 to a one-year, $1.6 million contract. Wellwood is not a difference-maker like Jokinen (or restricted free agent Evander Kane), but he makes a difference. He played well down the stretch last season with five goals and 10 points in the final month of the season. Furthermore, he had nine goals and 10 assists in 21 division games.
"I'm excited about the signings they've had and way the team's going," Wellwood told the Canadian Press. "It's going to be a good summer of getting prepared to improve."
The shifty forward recorded a career-high 47 points in 77 games last season. In 450 career NHL games with four different teams, including the Jets, Wellwood has 86 goals and 134 assists. But you can't measure Wellwood's value by his size or points alone. He's a versatile forward with good hockey sense. He hasn't finished a season with a minus-rating since 2007-08. Plus, he's a solid guy to have in the room. That's what the Jets were thinking when they re-signed him.
"That flexibility was useful in (head coach) Claude (Noel)'s lineup last year," said Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said. "And with the additions we have up front already this year, it should provide for a tremendous amount of options."
Make no mistake, bringing back Wellwood was a smart move.
Adam Martini is a freelance sportswriter and supporter of all Winnipeg sports teams. He no longer dreads Winnipeg winters now that the Jets have returned to town. Follow Adam and the Jets on Twitter @PegCitySports.Sources
The Canadian Press, "Winnipeg Jets re-sign forward Kyle Wellwood."
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- Olli Jokinen