Casey Wellman is having a pretty good day today, I imagine. Yesterday
he was a sophomore at the University of Massachusetts, living the
college dream of frat parties (responsibly of course), mid-terms,
activist rallies and college co-eds. Today, he’s an NHL player.
Minnesota Wild signed Wellman, a center, a two-year contract today, according
to an AP report. He scored 23 goals this past season with UMass,
and is a natural scorer with a great shot and who was easily the best
goal scorer on his college team.
Normally, college graduates
spend some time in the minors before heading to the NHL but the Wild are
going to have Wellman join the team immediately. Minnesota is most
likely completely out of playoff contention and it seems they feel this
is a great chance for Wellman to jump into the fire and show what he can
do. It’s going to be a big shock, however, to go from facing off
against opponents who are just learning to shave to staring down the
likes of Joe Thornton and Nicklas Lidstrom.
There’s no doubt that
he’ll also provide help for a Wild team that is hurting at the center
position. It’s not everyday that a college player is signed to instantly
boost an NHL team, but Wellman has that opportunity now. I’ll certainly
be watching his first game to see how he does.