Wellwood, 27, will attempt to earn a contract with the Coyotes once camp opens for veteran players on Sept. 18.
“During the summer you look at teams and Phoenix is a team that I thought maybe would be a good fit for me because of my skill-set,” Wellwood told phoenixcoyotes.com. “I’m a good centerman on face-offs and I can handle myself defensively and I’m pretty creative on the power play. Those are things I’m going to try to show them at camp and in exhibition games and make the team.”
Wellwood, who was drafted by Toronto in the fifth round of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, on Wednesday was reunited on the ice with former Vancouver teammates Taylor Pyatt
and Jason LaBarbera
, both of whom also were skating voluntarily in preparation for the start of training camp. Wellwood played the past two seasons as the third-line center for the Canucks. Before that, he played three-plus seasons for the Maple Leafs. In 338 NHL games, the native of Windsor, Ont., has notched 63 goals and 97 assists.
“Seeing those guys today was refreshing,” Wellwood said. “Whenever you start a new year and meet new teammates it’s nice to have guys around that you know. They both had great things to say about Phoenix and how nice it is to play here, and they said they really hope that I get to stick around.”
Wellwood and Pyatt were linemates, at times, with Vancouver.
“He’s a real crafty player and a real good playmaker and really good on the power play,” Pyatt said. “I really enjoyed playing on the same line with him. I think if he’s put in the right situation he could be a big part of the team. Hopefully he has a good camp and makes the team.”
Wellwood said he was impressed by what the Coyotes accomplished in 2009-10 when the team set franchise records for points (107) and victories (50).
“They’ve got a great set of defensemen on the team, and solid wingers and a No.1 goalie,” Wellwood said. “The coaching is excellent as well… I’m looking forward to trying to find a fit on this team, have a good season and help them build on what they did last year.”