32-Year-Old Center – Free Agent
Kyle Wellwood Contract Information:
Signed a one-year, $1.6 million deal with Winnipeg in July of 2012.
Wellwood has announced his retirement from hockey, according to a report by Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun. Wellwood managed one goal and two assists in nine games with EV Zug of the Swiss League this season.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
His 15 points in 39 games last year were slightly off the pace of the 47 points he posted in 2011-12. That said, Wellwood did manage points in eight of the team's last nine games. He can be streaky and can earn a spot on your fantasy roster when he's being consistent. Fantasy owners who add him will have to monitor his production throughout the year though as he does tend to fade at times.
Coming off of his best season as a professional with 18 goals and 29 assists, Wellwood re-upped with the Jets for one season in July. Given his numbers in 2011-2012, in addition to the $1.6 million Winnipeg has invested in the 29 year-old this year, Wellwood is likely to enjoy top-six minutes to start the season, and thus could provide some value in deeper leagues.
The Canucks decided against re-signing Wellwood this past offseason, turning him into an unrestricted free agent as a result. A sixth-year man out of Windsor, Ontario, Wellwood's numbers have declined significantly since his rookie season with the Maple Leafs. Nowadays, it's tough to expect much out of Wellwood because his confidence has wavered and he's isn't the aggressive type that teams need him to be.
In his first season with the Canucks, Wellwood managed a career-high 18 goals, but there was still question marks about his conditioning and consistency that followed him from his days with the Maple Leafs. As a result, Wellwood reported to camp in the best shape of his career this season. His role should expand due to the departure of Mats Sundin, so look for Wellwood to improve on last year's line.
The Canucks took a chance on Wellwood and claimed him off waivers, hoping to get the player that flashed 70-point potential in 2006-07. Wellwood has a history of injuries and has often been criticized for his work-ethic, but he has been coming up roses so far in Vancouver. He is looked in as center on the third line and could provide nice return to those willing to take a late-round flier on him.
Mr. Polite (no penalty minutes in 48 games last season) is tiny and talented, and showed fantasy owners everywhere he could be a first-line talent. He's not fast but he's sneaky on his skates, and his vision is unbelievable. And then there are those hands -- his stickhandling tricks a lot of defenders right out of their jocks. He needs to improve his durability and his defensive awareness, but he could have a 70-point season.
Wellwood had a solid rookie campaign, finishing ninth among all first-year players with 45 points in 81 games. The slick center is more playmaker than scorer, and will need a goal-scorer on his wing to take full advantage of his skills. He moved to Mats Sundin's wing late in camp, a move that makes him a very interesting fantasy sleeper.
This diminutive center (5'9") is a masterful stickhandler who can find the tiniest of seams with the puck. In a world made better by the exploits of Martin St. Louis, Wellwood should be given a chance to make the big club. Unfortunately, Wellwood is simply not nearly as fast as Mighty Mite and his brilliant stickhandling will be shutdown quickly in the bigger and faster NHL. He needs top-line responsibilities to shine in the NHL; Toronto is not the city where he'll get his chance.