Kyle Wellwood (born May 16, 1983) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey centre who played the majority of his career in the National Hockey League (NHL). He was originally selected by the Toronto Maple Leafs 134th overall in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, playing his first three seasons in the NHL with Toronto before joining the Vancouver Canucks in 2008.
After not re-signing with the Canucks, Wellwood played in Russia for Atlant Moscow Oblast of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). He left the team due to family concerns and was then signed by the St. Louis Blues. He never played a game with them, however, as he was claimed on re-entry waivers by the San Jose Sharks. After one season with the Sharks, he signed with the Winnipeg Jets as a free agent, where he played the final two years of his NHL career. Wellwood briefly signed with EV Zug of the National League A in Switzerland.
May 16, 1983|
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
|Height||5 ft 10 in (178 cm)|
|Weight||181 lb (82 kg; 12 st 13 lb)|
Toronto Maple Leafs|
Atlant Moscow Oblast (KHL)
San Jose Sharks
EV Zug (NLA)
134th overall, 2001|
Toronto Maple Leafs
Wellwood grew up in the small town of Oldcastle, Ontario, just east of Windsor, playing most of his minor hockey with the Essex Minor Hockey Association of the OMHA's Bluewater Hockey League. He then moved up to the AAA level and played for the Sun County Panthers of the OMHA's South Central AAA League. At the age of 16, Wellwood played one year of Jr. B. hockey with the Tecumseh Chiefs of the OHA's Western Ontario Hockey League.
Wellwood was drafted by the Belleville Bulls in the first round, 16th overall, in the 1999 Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Draft. In his second season with Belleville (2000–01), he put up 118 points, capturing the Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy as the League's leading scorer. The next season, he was traded in January 2002 to the Windsor Spitfires in exchange for Jason Spezza. As a Spitfire, he tallied 100 points in 57 games, including a 29-game stretch in which he scored 26 goals and 59 points. In his final year of major junior, he also received the William Hanley Trophy as the OHL's sportsman of the year, as well as the CHL Sportsman of the Year Award by playing in 57 games without a single penalty minute that year.
Wellwood was drafted in the fifth round, 134th overall, by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. He turned professional in 2003–04 when he joined Toronto's minor league affiliate, the St. John's Maple Leafs of the American Hockey League (AHL). Wellwood recorded 55 points in his professional rookie season while also appearing in his first NHL game with the Maple Leafs that year.
The NHL lockout the following season guaranteed that Wellwood would play in the AHL one more season. On October 30, 2004, he set a St. John's franchise record by scoring five goals in one game against the Cleveland Barons. He finished his second season with St. John's in 2004–05 fourth in League scoring with 87 points.
As NHL play resumed the following season in 2005–06, Wellwood joined Toronto's lineup. When captain Mats Sundin was injured in the first game of the season, Wellwood was bumped to centre the first line between wingers Alexei Ponikarovsky and Nik Antropov in Sundin's absence for a month. Wellwood posted a career-high 45 points in his rookie campaign, and in the following season, on December 16, 2006, Wellwood scored his first career NHL hat-trick in a game against the New York Rangers, also posting two assists for a career-high five-point NHL game. On pace to surpass his rookie totals, Wellwood was sidelined for almost half the season and finished with 42 points in 48 games.
Wellwood suffered a sports hernia before the start of the 2007–08 season and consequently he missed the year's first 15 games. He returned on November 6, 2007, against the Ottawa Senators. After the Maple Leafs had been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, Wellwood went to Philadelphia for minor surgery on the opposite side of his groin from the first operation, prematurely ending his season with 21 points in 59 games.
During the 2008 off-season, Wellwood broke a bone in his right foot while playing indoor soccer. With his contract set to expire, the Leafs placed him on waivers on June 24. He was claimed the following day by the Vancouver Canucks and was subsequently signed to a one-year, $998,000 contract. Reporting to training camp, he failed his initial fitness test and, although he passed a later evaluation, he was a healthy scratch to begin the season. On October 17, after having played just one game for the Canucks, he was placed on waivers by the team; after clearing, he was assigned to the Manitoba Moose of the AHL. Because the addition of Wellwood would have put the Moose over the limit for veteran players, Wellwood began assessing playing options in Europe; however, two days after clearing waivers, injuries to the Canucks prompted them to recall Wellwood to the NHL; he cleared re-entry waivers 24 hours later. Wellwood took advantage of this opportunity by scoring a goal and an assist in a 4–2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, and he stuck with the club. Later in the season, on February 17, 2009, Wellwood ended a streak of 159 games without a penalty by taking a high-sticking penalty against the Calgary Flames. It was his first penalty since April 11, 2006. Wellwood ended his first regular season in Vancouver with 18 goals and nine assists. Having never reached the Stanley Cup playoffs with Toronto, Wellwood made his NHL playoff debut with the Canucks in 2009 and scored his first NHL playoff goal in Game 4 of the first round against the St. Louis Blues, helping Vancouver complete a four-game sweep after a 3–2 overtime win.
In the subsequent off-season, Wellwood became a restricted free agent. After taking the Canucks to arbitration on July 28, 2009, he was re-signed to a one-year, $1.2 million contract two days later on July 30; terms in the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) did not allow the Canucks to walk away from a ruling of less than $1.57 million. Having earned a reputation in his first Canucks season for a lack of fitness, Wellwood reported to training camp for the 2009–10 season 15 pounds lighter than in the previous year. He began the season playing on the third line with Steve Bernier and Mason Raymond, a combination that Head Coach Alain Vigneault carried over from the latter stages of the 2008–09 season and playoffs. Wellwood was sidelined early in the season, suffering a broken toe after blocking a shot from Maple Leafs defenceman Mike Komisarek in a game on October 24, 2009, but he returned to the lineup just eight days later, on November 1. He finished the campaign with 14 goals and 25 points in 75 games. He followed that up with a seven-point post-season as the Canucks were eliminated by the eventual Stanley Cup champions, the Chicago Blackhawks, in the second round.
After two seasons in Vancouver, the Canucks let Wellwood become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2010, opting instead to sign Manny Malhotra from the San Jose Sharks as their projected third-line centre. Wellwood's main goal during the off-season was to find an opportunity to play centre on a scoring line. He accepted an invitation to the Phoenix Coyotes' training camp on a try-out basis. However, he was unable to secure a spot on the Coyotes' roster and was released on October 1. Four days later, he signed with Atlant Moscow Oblast of the Russian Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). In January 2011, he was released from Atlant. Initially it was believed that he had been released due to performance issues, but it was soon revealed that Wellwood was returning to his hometown of Windsor, Ontario, for family reasons.
Later in the 2010–11 season, he was reported to have signed with the St. Louis Blues; however, Blues officials denied the report, stating that they were unsure where the information came from. St. Louis General Manager Doug Armstrong stated that they were interested in Wellwood, but had ultimately not opted to sign him. According to a St. Louis-based reporter, the team was waiting for confirmation of Wellwood's release from Atlant before they finalized the signing. On January 17, Wellwood officially signed a one-year deal with the Blues, but needed to clear re-entry waivers prior to joining the team. The following day, however, he was claimed by the San Jose Sharks. He scored his first goal for the Sharks on February 1, in a game against Phoenix, Wellwood's goal tied the game at 3–3 and was considered a rallying point for San Jose as they eventually came back to win 5–3 after being down 3–0.
After becoming a free agent in the off-season, Wellwood signed a one-year, US$700,000 contract with the Winnipeg Jets on September 8, 2011. With 47 points on the season, Wellwood set a career-high in points, while tying his previous career-high of 18 goals in a season. On July 13, 2012, Wellwood re-signed with the Jets on a one-year $1.6 million contract. After the 2012–13 season, Winnipeg opted not extend his contract, thereby making Wellwood an unrestricted free agent. After failing to sign with any NHL team, Wellwood signed a one-month contract with EV Zug of the Swiss National League A. After expiration of the contract, he reportedly retired from professional hockey with his "heart no longer in the game," though he stated he would explore NHL options before officially retiring.
|World Junior Championships|
His brother Eric is currently an assistant coach with the Flint Firebirds of the OHL. Eric played for the Philadelphia Flyers after being selected by the team in the sixth round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
|1997–98||Sun County Panthers||OMHA||48||34||60||94||20||—||—||—||—||—|
|2003–04||St. John's Maple Leafs||AHL||76||20||35||55||6||—||—||—||—||—|
|2003–04||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||1||0||0||0||0||—||—||—||—||—|
|2004–05||St John's Maple Leafs||AHL||80||38||49||87||20||5||2||2||4||2|
|2005–06||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||81||11||34||45||14||—||—||—||—||—|
|2006–07||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||48||12||30||42||0||—||—||—||—||—|
|2007–08||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||59||8||13||21||0||—||—||—||—||—|
|2010–11||Atlant Moscow Oblast||KHL||25||5||3||8||2||—||—||—||—||—|
|2010–11||San Jose Sharks||NHL||35||5||8||13||0||18||1||6||7||0|
|Junior int'l totals||6||1||4||5||0|
| Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy
| CHL Sportsman of the Year
| William Hanley Trophy