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Jets Journal: Welcome Wellwood

by Kristi Hennessy / Winnipeg Jets
GOALS: 5 | ASST: 3 | PTS: 8

SOG: 12 | +/-: 2
It seems as though Kyle Wellwood has found his groove. He may have even found himself a comfy spot on the top line.

His consistent game has him leading the Jets in the goals department with five. He has tallied eight points in 11 games played this season. He has been shuffled and bounced around from line to line throwing sparks to everyone he plays with. His versatility has proven to have a huge impact on the team thus far.

The Windsor, Ontario native is coming off of one of his most impressive games Monday night against the Florida Panthers, picking up a goal and an assist before netting the shootout winner. Coach Claude Noel had Wellwood playing on the top line with Andrew Ladd and Bryan Little and so far, so good.

"Kyle Wellwood has been a good player for us," Noel told media after Monday's game. "To unclog a line, we kind of move him into that situation and he’s a guy that a lot of players want to play with."

Wellwood has spent time with the Toronto Maple Leafs, San Jose Sharks and the Vancouver Canucks, where he recorded his career-high, 18-goals in the 2008-09 season. Defining and mastering a role was key for Wellwood if he was going to have a job for the 2011-12 season. The Winnipeg Jets handed the free-agent a contract just in time for training camp and so far, it’s paid off.  

When and where did he learn to master his igniting role?

"It's something I've learned playing over the years is to play a well rounded game all the time," he said. "I've played behind a few Hart trophy winners and Selke winners and you find yourself on the third line a lot and it's a different role there. Once you can do that effectively, it creates more room on teams.

"I think you take it on yourself. You usually watch other players in the league who do that role well and try to mimic their play."

Coach Noel has had nothing but positive things to say about Wellwood’s recent play, he sees the invaluable trait that he brings to the team.

"I like him a lot, he's really smart,” said Noel. “He's an NHL player who can provide offense and has played really well for us. You can really trust his game. I find him really trustworthy and really reliable. He's a smart player and it seems that wherever we've put him, he's helped that line do well so that's a good attribute to have.

"He's like a lucky charm."

Lucky or not, Wellwood just hopes that he can continue to keep helping his team by doing the little things that seem to be paying off.

"I'm trying to contribute," he told the Winnipeg Free Press. "I've enjoyed my time here. We've played better the last couple of games and on this road trip. I certainly want to be part of things. I hope the feeling is that I'm helping because I'm challenging myself to be better all the time and it's starting to show in my play."

Author: Kristi Hennessy-
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