Jets ink Wellwood, Postma

               

 

Kevin Cheveldayoff had the air of a pretty relaxed gent this afternoon as he watched his club’s batch of prospects finish development camp at the Iceplex, but he did manage to tie up a loose end or two before beginning his weekend by signing two players to one year contracts.

Paul Postma received a one way deal as a reward for his fine offensive season on the Rock last year, as the 23 year old totaled 44 points on the way to an AHL all-star spot. I don’t like to put much emphasis on +/- absent the context of outshooting, competition, and what sort of goaltending he had behind him, so his -14 for the year doesn’t explicitly concern me.

If he makes the Jets next season, I suspect he’ll be sheltered quite extensively so that he can continue learning at the NHL level without being stretched beyond his current capabilities. As the current roster stands, he’ll have a difficult time beating out Clitsome for a regular spot in the top six, and he’s got no shot moving beyond that level barring a significant leap in his play, so his fate is likely to fill the Randy Jones spot on the roster. 

Kyle Wellwood’s contract is a more substantial matter in my view, and the 1.6 million offered for another season of his handiwork seems cheap at the price. Wellwood has pretty firmly established himself as a very solid possession player against middling comp over the last few years, and the market for players that are that productive is normally a fairly robust one.

It’s my suspicion that had Wellwood produced precisely the same numbers last year against precisely the same competition while standing 6’1" and weighing 200 pounds, he would have garnered a deal not unlike David Jones or P.A. Parenteau. Teams, and fans, appear to have a size fetish that can occasionally blind them to what actually happens on the ice, and while size certainly has its place as an asset, it should always be results that drive decision making. Make no mistake, Kyle Wellwood was a very productive player last season. 

One of the excellent tools available at Hockey Analysis is the WOWY (with or without you) function that shows how certain players work with others. Here are Wellwood’s Corsi-close numbers from last year with everyone on the club, and below is a table for the link-averse showing his efforts with the other top forwards and defenders. Wellwood and Wheeler both play the right side, so they hardly spent any time on ice together, which is why Wheeler is absent from this table: 

 

 

  Together   Wellwood apart   Other player apart
ANDREW LADD 0.553   0.541   0.537
NIK ANTROPOV 0.548   0.545   0.473
ALEXANDER BURMISTROV 0.560   0.540   0.534
MARK STUART 0.554   0.542   0.450
EVANDER KANE 0.560   0.540   0.515
ZACH BOGOSIAN 0.514   0.561   0.494
RON HAINSEY 0.551   0.545   0.476
DUSTIN BYFUGLIEN 0.598   0.530   0.547
TOBIAS ENSTROM 0.595   0.533   0.555
BRYAN LITTLE 0.488   0.551   0.542
 
 
Not everything is a coincidence, people. Other than Bryan Little, every single Jet of note was better when 13 was riding shotgun, and his QComp numbers were right in the middle of the pack for the team’s skilled forwards, so it wasn’t merely a case of players slumming while working alongside him. 
 
I’m not blind to the holes in Kyle Wellwood’s game, because he can be muscled off the puck, and he can’t really be relied upon as a hard minutes forward, but there aren’t nearly as many of those players floating around as people like to think, and every last one of them makes a bong-load more than a million-six. Wellwood is just a useful guy to have around, and as for the idea that just anyone could pile up those points on a second line, that’s simply asinine.
 
Wellwood played about 5 1/2 minutes a night less during 11/12 than the club’s putative first line center, Bryan Little, while scoring one more point. The only other forward in the league with 47 points or more that played less time than Wellwood’s 14:57 was Nick Foligno, who just signed a RFA contract at double the price. Wellwood’s 37 points at EV placed him 86th in the league, ahead of guys like Getzlaf, Versteeg, Perry, Heatley and a multitude of other high-priced players.
 
Again, Wellwood’s not perfect, and I suspect he’ll have a very difficult time shooting north of 19% any time soon, but at some point, results have to override mindless size bias, right? If the players you play with outshoot and outscore the other team at a better rate with you on the ice than without, odds are that you aren’t just some schmuck along for the ride. 
 
At any rate, as a move to fill the top nine on the Jets for this season, the contract is virtually without risk. As Jim Slater’s deal attests, 1.6 million is what the Jets are willing to pay a guy that should spend this year as the club’s 10th forward, so offering Wellwood the same money for top-nine ice time has the look of a very nice bargain. 
 
 
 
 

 

  • RexLibris

    Nice.

    Might be interesting to slap some corsi qual comp numbers up beside the columns in the WOWY table to get an idea of how he was used with each of the players.

    • Robert Cleave

      I did link to the overall Qcomp below the table, but fair point about adding them to the chart. It’s hard to parse them out player by player, though. I suspect when playing with Ladd, Little, and Bogo, Wellwood played against second liners, with GST playing the toughs. With Burmi/Kane, it seems like they played a bunch of third liners, but that’s as much via my own observation than any linkable numbers.

  • MC Hockey

    Hi Robert,

    Great article and nice to see Wellwood back (and wise move by Jets), given his great possession stats and high ranking among UFAs who were available on July 1 (per my article a few weeks back on this site).

    I agree that if Wellwood was bigger and did not have a “doughboy past” following him, he would have been paid far more so again, great catch by Jets to realize his value and get him quite cheap.

    And as other Calgarians know, Paul Postma was a fine defenceman for the WHL Calgary Hitmen so glad to see him rewarded with a 1-way contract. As long as Jets don’t need to try to send him to the AHL then all is well…I cannot see them risking losing him so I guess Paul can find a place in the Peg.

    • Robert Cleave

      AhA! MC Hockey. I saw your comment over in Oilers Nation and decided I would check you out over here. I know this has nothing to do with this article, but what do you think of the Flames off-season, i.e. Drafting way, way off the board, replacing Jokenin for Hudler, and potentially overpaying Wideman.

      More to this, it really seemed like any success the Flames had last year, they because of Kipper. His performance last year was ridiculous, and that was only good enough for 9th? (really can’t remember off the top of my head). My point is do you see him repeating last year and if not, where does that put the Flames?

      I’m always interested to get an intelligent Flame’s fan’s perspective on stuff like this.

      Sitting from my high horse (high because it almost can’t get any worse), I would be even more angry at Fester than I currently am at Tambillini as an Oilers fan. I think he could have gotten Jankowski way later. I think Hudler’s a downgrade from Jokenin. I am really high on Wideman, but not at that price, and I’m not sure that the amount of goals he helps put in is going to be more than the ones he’s responsible for letting in.

  • NuckfiSh

    Hey guys, I just dropped in from CanucksArmy & see you signed Wellwood…

    I think more then his size, its a “Maple Leaf” stigma thats attached to Kyle Wellwood. I remember being very satisfied with the job he did in Vancouver to help us get back into the playoffs in 2009 & 2010. But he could never shake that “cheeseburger” reputation given unto him by big-shot Toronto sports writers. His numbers looked great on the Jets last year & i agree 100% that at $1.6M, you’ve found a great bargain here.

    Good job, Cya!

  • MC Hockey

    Hey Will…Thanks for the kind words. You will probably see actual articles by me here as well as comments as long as the overlord Kent Wilson keeps me. But I digress, so to reply, here I go:

    1. Drafting Jankowski – perhaps he could have been gotten later, but I am not so sure other GMs would not have gotten him around 25-30 from what I heard. Also Flames get a 2nd-rounder in the trade-down deal and Patrick Sieloff is a future hard-hitting D-man…I hate to say but like Sarich (but hopefully skates better)

    2. Wideman – great counting and advanced stats so losing a low pick to get his rights and sign early is OK by me. You always over pay and give a year or two longer for top free agents so no big surprise there.

    3. Hudler in for Jokinen – yes risky move here but Jokinen wanted bigger $ than Flames were comfortable with I believe and I really think his stats start declining very soon if he stays in Calgary. However, being with the Jets may rejuvenate him as he needs to prove himself to new teammates and coaches again.

    • MC Hockey

      hmmmmm, yes well put.

      Another question, what do you think it would take (assuming his no trade clause was waived) to get Antripov to the Oilers?

      Or, hypothetically, if the Jets are in a seller position at the deadline, do you think they’d trade him for no more than lower licks or a prospect or two since he’s going to be a UFA next year?

  • Good stuff, Robert. Chevy has more or less redeemed himself in my eyes through his free agent dealings, and Welly is just another example.

    For all the value we get out of Wellwood, we could get even more if we’d let the guy into the faceoff circle. Playing between Kane and Jokinen on a 2nd line that received a bit cushier minutes could be a really good idea.

    • Robert Cleave

      I’ve been thinking about what Cheveldayoff’s done since he signed Pavelec, and my general conclusion is that he seems to be more or less sensible about skater value. His drafting and his assessment of his starting goalie aren’t my cup of tea, obviously, but plenty of GMs are having a hard time coming to grips with goaltender valuation in the current market, so I suppose that he’s not much worse than most of his cohort in that regard.

      I do like the idea of Wellwood/Joker as a duo. As you know, I watched Olli play a game or 200 over the last few years, and having a proper setup man will allow Jokinen to play to his strengths. He and Iggy were always square peg stuff. My only concern with adding Kane to that mix is that he also needs to be the primary shooter on any line that he’s on. I could see Ladd maybe being a better fit, with Kane moving to Little’s line, but until they get a chance to go to camp in November ;-), we won’t really know how all the pieces will fit.

  • MC Hockey

    Rubbing alcohol to disinfect accident cuts…
    Boating using a bad navigation map and hit some rocks; the beers destined for the cottage flipped up and broke in one’s mouth….
    Girl took one’s fist and beat herself with it….c’mon.

    Dirt cheap. Wellwood (only one good season) is only a little worse than Hudler or Gomez; thought would cost +$3M and going somewhere else. FWs stacked. Deadline pickups of D and maybe a G might be all that is needed here.

    What scares me about Buff, and the team missed him while injured, and he improved like Pavelec probably will (I have more wind now I quit drinking, the 1st day back doesn’t do much for me nor does too many days, I’m a Goldilocks drinker) later in the yr, is that LA won the Cup after trading – J.Johnson. Enstrom I thought made $4M+; wouldn’t trade him at $3.75M.
    Maybe UFA at 26 without no-trade clauses, or at 27 with that option? With the USA in debt and Canada’s tax rates flatter, I can’t see the owners taking less than 50%, destroying Japanese hotel rooms aside. New rules were great (probably some replay rules would be nice, seeing Scuderi turn at the last second means you probably want to bring the NJ player back in Game 6 at intermission).
    Why doesn’t a network pickup Ivan Hlinka? Wings took Tootoo based on one of these esoteric player stats.

  • MC Hockey

    Wow, that sounds bad. I think she (the coke whore) was lying, I meant. He buys from a local dealership…
    The last lockout, the Wings and the Sens were really hurt. Missed Sakic and Yzerman in near top form.
    This time, Washington, and aging Vancouver would be big losers. The big winner would be Edmonton I think. A big chunk of Jets have two years left. Would that be one year left or would contracts cary over?