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Thoughts On Wellman; Recruit Update

Casey Wellman (photo by Karen Winger)

I don’t blame Casey Wellman for leaving.  Why?  Because the Minnesota Wild offered him a $900K contract and he’ll start his pro career in the NHL, not the minors.  I am amazed that he got the rookie maximum, and frankly good for him for getting such a contract.  For an undrafted guy only playing two years of college (not even at one of the elite programs) that’s a pretty sweet deal.

Now for the part that may surprise.  I’m glad he’s going.  Don’t get me wrong, I like Casey and I’m very thankful for what he did at UMass.  But I would argue the Casey Wellman that I’ve seen on the ice for the last three months has been more of a detriment than a help.  At times he has looked selfish.  Too often he has looked flat out disinterested.  Even when he had good games, like the last two against BC, there were still instances where he didn’t look like he was putting the goals of the team ahead of his own.  Case in point, down 4-2 Wellman leads a 3 on 1 into the BC zone with a chance to get back in the game.  Instead of looking to pass to either of his open teammates he instead tries a spin move around the lone defenseman.  It doesn’t work and the puck and chance to cut into the lead are lost.  That play was just a microcosm of Wellman’s second half of his season.

Speaking of Wellman’s second half of a season, let’s take a look at it.  Through the first 16 games Wellman scored 15 goals and had a total of 25 points.  In the remaining 20 games he had only 8 goals and 20 total points.  Incidently, his production plumetted right around the time he started getting mentioned for the Hobey Baker award and started being the subject of story features.  Now I’m not sure if these things got to his head or if they put added pressure on his shoulders, but either way it did not seem like he was very good at adjusting to such things.  Yet another reason why making the jump to the NHL will be a huge challenge for him.  I’m very interested to see how Wellman adjusts to playing without Marcou.  Of Wellman’s 23 goals, Marcou factored in 19 of them, including all 11 power play scores.

If you ask me I think Casey Wellman played his best hockey when he was an unheralded, undrafted player from sunny California who committed to college late in the game and played like he had something to prove.  That was the Wellman I loved watching and the one that I’ll remember well in the maroon and white and miss in the days to come.  The guy who left his two wings waiting on Saturday for the pass that never came, I will not.

What it comes down to is that a player who is not fully committed to what the team is trying to accomplish is better off pursuing his interests elsewhere.  No matter what though, I wish him luck.  While I am not entirely heartbroken over his departure, I did enjoy watching him play for UMass and will enjoy following his career from here on out.

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For those wondering, assuming Wellman does dress for the Wild later this week, he will become the fifth UMass hockey player to play in the NHL.  He follows Brad Norton, Greg Mauldin, Thomas Pöck, and Jon Quick.

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With the Wellman watch over to quickly I can now put my entire focus on the Marcou watch.  Supposedly Toot Cahoon has asked NHL clubs to back off.  Sadly, I don’t think that will happen and the poaching will continue when Marcou signs later this week.  It’s only a matter of time.

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Congratulations to Peter DeAngelo as his Junior Monarchs are EJHL champions.  The Monarchs beat the South Shore Kings 4-3 on Sunday for the championship played at Holy Cross.  DeAngelo picked up an assists in the game.  Unfortunately the Kings were without the services of Shane Walsh who was out with what I’m guessing was an injury.

Joel Hanley had a goal and three assists as his Newmarket Hurricanes swept Burlington in the CCHL playoff semifinals.

Kevin Boyle’s New Jersey Rockets lost to Walople in the AJHL championship game.  Unfortunately Boyle gave up 5 goals on 25 shots in that final game.  He had played well in the AJHL playoffs up to that point.

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8 Comments

  1. justin

     /  March 16, 2010

    Couldn’t agree more with your assessment about Wellman.

    I actually think he’ll be fine without Marcou, as there are going to be a bunch of guys in the League that can find him the puck, we’ll just see if his non-shooting skills are enough to let him stick.

    Hope you’re wrong about Marcou, but there was talk last season about him jumping, so I think he’s as good as gone. Tough losses on top of the seniors.

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  2. Wow I thought I was the only one who wanted him gone. I agree completley with you on Wellman. I also feel the same way about Marcou.

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    • I’m glad the distracted Wellman is gone. We really need players whose sole focus is on whats best for UMass hockey. I will miss the Wellman we saw at the beginning of the year. But once he got a sniff of his pro potential, that guy was gone.

      I wouldn’t say the same about Marcou.

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  3. Rob T

     /  March 16, 2010

    Couldnt have said it much better, I have enjoyed Wellman right from his first game with Umass but these last few months have left little to enjoy from him, best of luck in the NHL Casey!!

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  4. It’s small consolation, but a Northeastern team I thought would be downright scary next year just lost Jake Newton, probably the best freshman defenseman in Hockey East, to the Anaheim Ducks. At least we’re not the only team falling victim to NHL poaching.

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    • It will continue every year until the NCAA, OHL, and NHL come up with a mutually beneficial agreement. Right now the NCAA has the least leverage.

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  5. bluepaint

     /  March 21, 2010

    Two USHL goalies signed recently – Chuback with Niagara, Grosenick with Union – was UMass considering either of those two?

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