Update: 12:19PM: According to tweets from Steve Zipay and Andrew Gross, John Tortorella was told by Jim Schoenfeld that Wellman is a hard working, skilled player that can play all three forward positions.
Original Post: Back in December, Minnesota Wild blog Hockey Wilderness wrote a post about newly acquired Rangers center Casey Wellman.
They write that for Wellman to be a successful NHL player he needs to play in the top six:
That said, Wellman’s game is top six or nothing. He isn’t a grinder nor a checker. He is skilled labor being used to bag groceries. A job? Sure, but not the right job. He skates on the top line wing in Houston, developing into a top six forward with big minutes and power play time. When he is called up, he should be serving a similar purpose, or he should be left in Houston to play the minutes and situations he needs to play.
The Rangers made a deal like this last season and landed John Mitchell. That has worked out pretty well and I think that Wellman is a guy with a lot more upside. He is playing at a point per game pace in the AHL and has highly touted coming out of college. But as they point out in the post above, so were players like Matt Gilroy and Tyler Bozak. NHL players, but not players that match the the hype thrown on them.
It’s the kind of move that I would make over and over again. As much as I liked the potential that Christensen had, he wasn’t playing and wasn’t going to be brought back next season. Wellman is a guy who has some potential and could maybe use this change of scenery to jump start him. That top six role with the Rangers isn’t likely, but I am never against adding young, under control prospects with upside.
Irony of Wellman deal: When Wellman was up during last stint, former #mnwild GM Doug Risebrough, now working for Slats, followed Wild around
— Michael Russo (@Russostrib) February 3, 2012