Analysis: Former-Shark Kyle Wellwood signs one-year contract with Winnipeg Jets for 0.7M

According to many sources, including Renaud P Lavoie, Brodie Brazil, the Winnipeg Sun and Puck Daddy, Kyle Wellwood has signed a one-year deal with the Winnipeg Jets for 0.7M.

This represents a big missed opportunity for the Sharks. According to an article by Andy Strickland, Kyle Wellwood was yearning to return to the Sharks, to the point where he even declined contract offers from other teams simply on the off-chance that Doug Wilson would change his mind and offer him a contract. That’s dedication.

But more important than Wellwood’s offseason attitude is his ability on the ice. Wellwood was an excellent fit for the Sharks third line after joining the team mid-way through last season. He played smart on defense, and brought poise and creativity to the Sharks attack. He even played great through the majority of the playoffs. The Vancouver series was an exception, but is our collecctive memory that short-term? Is Doug Wilson’s? When your team gets beat in five games, it means most your players weren’t performing very well. Should Wellwood’s poor performance in the Conference Finals really discount everything he did before that? He was one of the Sharks best players from when he joined to the team through the Western Conference Semi-Finals. He was a very important contributor against the Kings and Red Wings. Were those not as much playoff series as the Vancouver series? Were they not as important? If you don’t win the first two series, you don’t even get the chance to compete in the third. Wellwood helped them get there.

As for where he’d have fit on this year’s team, he could have reprised third-line role from last season, or dropped to the fourth line. Even if Doug Wilson wants to try a new philosophy for his third line, Wellwood is a jack of many trades, and a proven fit with the Sharks. Bringing him back just to have him on the roster if nothing else would have been smart. He would have supplemented the team’s depth at both ends of the ice, at center or wing, and would have made for affordable insurance in case one of the top six forwards got injured. So in my mind there is really no excuse for not bringing him back. Everything there is positive. He even wanted to stay with the Sharks so much that he was willing to take a smaller role, and sign for about as affordable and low-risk a contract as exists under the current CBA. Why Doug Wilson did not just say thank you very much and oblige him I do not understand. I mean even if Wellwood performed poorly to start the season, his contract is so low-risk that you could probably have found a taker for him on waivers.

There really appears to have been no downside at all to re-signing him. Maybe you have to give Doug Wilson the benefit of the doubt and assume he had his reasons, but it’s also possible he is blowing whatever reasons he does have out of proportion. Because, I ask you readers this question. What single negative reason could possibly outweigh all the positives listed above? What do you readers think?

What I think is the Sharks missed an opportunity to add to their forward depth. Kyle Wellwood is a player who proved he was a great fit in San Jose, and I think the Sharks should have brought him back for such low money.