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Wellwood's play warrants promotion to scoring line

by Adam Kimelman
VOORHEES, N.J. -- Flyers center Eric Wellwood had a great chance to help his team's chances Monday night when he had dinner with his best friend, Devils center Adam Henrique.

The two were teammates for four seasons with the Ontario Hockey League's Windsor Spitfires and won a pair of Memorial Cups together on a juggernaut team that included Oilers forward Taylor Hall, Canucks forward Zack Kassian and Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler, among others. So when they had a chance to catch up prior to the teams playing Tuesday, the pair had dinner at Wellwood's apartment.

"We got to hang out last night. He came over to my place," Wellwood said. When asked what he cooked, he said he didn't and then realized his missed opportunity -- "I should have poisoned him, actually."

Wellwood obviously was joking, and said he's not surprised his friend is among the front-runners for this year's Calder Trophy.

"He got a lot of points, but he never was Taylor Hall or Ryan Ellis in junior," Wellwood said. "Those guys are obviously good players in the NHL as well … but playing with him you knew he was good."

Wellwood also has shown his skills in his time with the Flyers. He has 2 goals in five games in his most recent promotion from AHL Adirondack, and he earned another promotion at Tuesday's morning skate -- from center on the fourth line to second-line left wing, playing with Danny Briere and Jakub Voracek.

Wellwood, regarded by some as the fastest skater on the team, said the shift to the wing will allow him to use his speed more.

"I think I can be more aggressive on the forecheck," he said. "When you're at center you sit back a little bit more, you just watch the play develop, because you don't want to get caught defensively, because that's your major responsibly -- especially if you're playing on the fourth line. I think my game will change a bit. I'll be a lot faster, and I'll be on the forecheck more. I'll try to get them the puck as best as I can.

"I think I'm going to be the one to create them space. I think if I get in on the forecheck and get the puck, and do a lot of the dirty work, that will help them out a lot. It seems like a good line. I think we've got a lot of good things going."

Coach Peter Laviolette wouldn't commit to that line sticking together for Tuesday's game, but said he's been very pleased with what he's seen from Wellwood so far.

"I've liked Wellwood's game, he's been terrific," Laviolette said. "He brings a lot of speed. You go back and you watch the game over and he's always around there doing something -- he's breaking up a forecheck or he's driving the net or he's killing a big penalty. His speed is a real asset. He's a real smart player. He's been real good.

"Every time he's put a uniform on up here, he's impressed people. Whether it's exhibition games or call-ups, whenever it might be, he's been an impressive player."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK


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