The Jets have spent most of the summer looking a little light up front, so it’s possible that this evening’s reported addition of Kyle Wellwood on a one year, 700K deal should be less of a surprise than it might seem. The well-travelled forward has never really been much more than a soft minutes type at the NHL level, but the club has had the look of a crew that was at least two forwards short of a top nine, and if nothing else Wellwood gives Winnipeg an inexpensive extra body with some experience.
It’s fairly clear that the primary impetus behind the signing was the fact that Winnipeg is particularly thin at center. Their depth chart for the top three lines before Wellwood signed would have included Bryan Little, Alexander Burmistrov and maybe Nik Antropov. The next best option after that might be Jim Slater, so that’s a list that contains a 19 year old, a converted winger and a player recovering from a serious concussion. Add in the fact that Eric Fehr is unlikely to start the season on the active roster, and Wellwood should get his fair share of ice time in the early going.
Kyle Wellwood is hardly a serious difference maker, and the only reason he’s a Jet is because of the team’s absence of acceptable forward depth, but for 700K on a one year deal, there’s no real risk for the club, so I can’t really object. I suppose the one other item of note is that there was absolutely no hint of Wellwood signing until it happened, which appears to reinforce the notion that the Jets are very good at keeping hockey-related information to themselves.