Having already picked up some new weapons, the Winnipeg Jets secured one of the old guard on Friday, re-signing forward Kyle Wellwood to a one-year contract reportedly worth US$1.6 million.
Wellwood recorded a career-high 47 points (18 goals, 29 assists) in 77 games with the Jets last season. But the Windsor, Ont., native, who had an appendectomy before the 2011-12 season, said he expects to put up better numbers in the upcoming campaign.
“For me to finally have a summer here where I’m able to prepare like you’re supposed to for a hockey season and not have any injuries is great,” said Wellwood. “I hope to get back where I was real early in my career.”
The Jets have already acquired centre Finnish forward Olli Jokinen, Ukrainian winger Alexei Ponikarovsky and American goalie Al Montoya since free agency opened on July 1.
Wellwood was originally drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the fifth round, 134th overall, in the 2001 NHL draft. Since then, the 29-year-old has played in 450 NHL games with Toronto, Vancouver, San Jose and Winnipeg, totalling 86 goals and 134 assists.
But after bouncing around the league, Wellwood said he’s excited to stay put in Winnipeg and start the upcoming season in a familiar environment.
“I’m excited about the signings they’ve had and way the team’s going,” he said. “It’s going to be a good summer of getting prepared to improve.”
Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff praised Wellwood’s versatility, hockey sense, and ability to play on any of the Winnipeg forward lines.
“That flexibility was useful in (head coach) Claude (Noel)’s lineup last year,” said Cheveldayoff. “And with the additions we have up front already this year, it should provide for a tremendous amount of options.”
The Jets also announced that they have re-signed minor league defenceman Paul Postma. The Red Deer, Alta., native has played four career NHL games, three with the Jets and one more with the Atlanta Thrashers.