After some whispers of Kyle Wellwood possibly going overseas to play hockey circulated, the Winnipeg Jets eventually signed the forward to a one-year, $1.6 million contract. Wellwood appeared in 77 games for the Jets last season, registering 18 goals and 29 assists.
Wellwood enjoyed one of the better years of his career in 2011-12 and is definitely worth another one-year deal to see if he can duplicate his performance from last season. Wellwood can play center or wing on either the second or third line, so his versatility will give coach Claude Noel options, especially with the additions made in the last couple of weeks. Wellwood, Nik Antropov and the recently added Alexei Ponikarovsky all enjoyed mild success as teammates on the Toronto Maple Leafs. It would not surprise me if those three played on a line at least a few times next season.
While Wellwood isn’t a top-flight scorer, he can bag some points and gives some cheap depth to the forward corps. The Jets will figure to continue rolling with cheaper veterans like him, Ponikarovsky and Olli Jokinen as they try to build from within. In that respect, this is a good, solid, but unspectacular signing.
Wellwood isn’t going to win any scoring titles, but he’ll at least be a warm body who can put the puck in the net while we all wait for guys like Mark Scheifele to come up and take roster spots from the fringe-type players.
The Jets also re-signed 23-year-old defenseman Paul Postma. The terms of the contract have yet to become public. Postma has just four NHL games under his belt but figures to be a main component of the Jets’ future. He had a strong year with the St. John’s Ice Caps, posting 44 points in 56 games, as well as 10 points in 15 Calder Cup Playoff games. He will be a name to keep an eye on when the Jets open training camp in September.