The St. Louis Blues finally got all of the KHL kinks worked out of the Kyle Wellwood situation. They announced he has signed a one-year contract valued at $650,000 prorated for the remainder of the 2010-11 season. He is not eligible to play for the Blues AHL affiliate, the Peoria Rivermen, due to signing after a Dec. 15 deadline for players in Europe signing in North America during the season.
The bottom line is clear. The Blues need to add experienced depth with the return of David Perron and Andy McDonald still in question. Adding the desired “legitimate goal scorer” is not a practical option under the current salary cap system. Not at the mid-season mark at least, leaving General Manager Doug Armstrong with few options for reinforcing the lineup. As any good GM would do, he’s exploring all options.
Some call it dumpster diving, but I choose to call it antiquing. Army is hoping that $5 painting he bought at a yard sale turns out to be a rare revolutionary period find.
Hopefully no one comes along and offers a few bucks more before Doug has it appraised. Just like Marek Svatos, Wellwood will have to clear waivers. The Blues will know in 24 hours if he is theirs.
In his NHL career Wellwood has 63 goals and 160 points in 338 career appearances. His last season in the NHL was 2009-10 for the Vancouver Canucks where he scored 14 goals and 25 points in 75 games. More recently, the 27-year-old Windsor, Ontario native has been playing for Mytishchi Atlant of the KHL, registering five goals and eight points in 25 games. He was released from his Russian contract earlier this month due to that level of production.
Wellwood should help the Blues in the faceoff circle, an area of much needed improvement. In 2009-10, he won 390 of 725 draws (53.8 percent), and in 2008-09, he won 357 out of 621 (57.5 percent) — a combined 747 of 1346 (55.5 percent). Compare that to the Blues’ 25th-rated 48.2 percent, and the potential for improvement is obvious.
His potential to chip in up to 10 goals in the second half is a bonus as well for the goal-starved Blues.
Should Wellwood prove to be an adequate plumber line forward, will potential trade scenarios pop up? Could a team looking for a defensive forward be willing to deal a depth scorer? With Wellwood not full in tow yet, it’s difficult to say and proposing names coming in return is highly speculative. Yet, it’s a question worth asking and a potential storyline worth following. Wellwood gives Armstrong options and Armstrong has been on point utilizing his options, swapping depth in one area for help in another.
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