Many Sharks fans, impressed with Kyle Wellwood's creative play making and chemistry with Torrey Mitchell and Joe Pavelski, have been holding out hope that San Jose will extend a contract to the journeyman forward.
It seems like Kyle Wellwood himself is doing the same.
According to Andy Strickland of True Hockey, Kyle Wellwood has recieved interest from both the Winnepeg Jets and the Columbus Blue Jackets but hasn't signed yet with either team. Instead, Wellwood remains determined to land a spot with the team he helped take to the Western Conference Finals last season. The Sharks have apparently told Wellwood that they would extend a camp try-out, but would do so without the security of a guaranteed spot or contract.
It's a risky move for Wellwood; he played a similar type of waiting game last offseason and ended up playing in Russia to start the season. Luckily, he was released by his KHL club and was signed by the St. Louis Blues, who then lost him on re-entry waivers to the Sharks.
Credit to Wellwood, who played admirably for San Jose in his return to the NHL after what was effectively half of a season away from the league. Wellwood scored thirteen points in thirty-five regular season games and added seven points in the team's eighteen playoff contests. His advanced statistics were also quite impressive, as we pointed out earlier in the offseason.
However, there are some significant roadblocks to Wellwood's return to San Jose. First, the need for Wellwood is lessened now that the Sharks have moved Pavelski into the top six forward group. Because of this, the Sharks third line will take on a much smaller role when it comes to offensive production, instead focusing on the defensive aspects of the game. Wellwood's size and skill-set don't mesh well with that type of assignment.
Second, the Sharks already have a slew of players who will be competing for four spots on the third and fourth lines, likely at a lower price. Jamie McGinn, James Sheppard, Cam MacIntyre, Benn Ferriero, Andrew Desjardins and Andrew Murray all have their eyes on a roster spot. The Sharks may not want to add Wellwood to the already crowded fold.
Lastly, as Stickland points out in his article, the Sharks are just one contract away from the 50 player maximum, meaning that Wellwood would take that last spot. If Doug Wilson wants to make any other move before the start of the season, signing Wellwood would reduce his wiggle-room.
Kyle Wellwood is a good hockey player, one who definitely deserves a chance somewhere in the NHL. Unfortunately for him, that somewhere may not be San Jose.
Hopefully, his dedication to the team won't leave him homeless for the second straight offseason.