he's doing a fine job but right now, he tends to be hyped. and even if he will make his way to the NHL - it will be hard.
he's small ... and the leafs' coach is still pat quinn. somebody who doesn't seem to like small players. remember what he made with dempsey (now los angeles) and sullivan (80pts this season!) ... he ignored them! ... what he likes is guys like antropov or ponikarovsky or sundin - very tall ones! ...
5'10 190 is small when you cant skate. Being really fats kind of cancels out your size disadvantage while being slow makes it more obvious. (IMO)
Yeah, that and he's not the grittiest player. Odds are against him but who knows, some players just have it when they don't seem to have the package, like Andrew Brunette for example. In Wellwoods case and others like him, you never know until they get they're shot in the NHL. Then they'll either surprise everyone and succeed or they truly show what they have to work on. And an example of that would Andy Hilbert of the B's.
At only 5-11, 190 (now 200), Hilbert had a dominating year in the AHL, but once in the NHL you could see he needed work. Hilbert was considered small and didn't have the speed for the size, but mostly needed added grit to his game and he's improved in that area since. So a year later Hilbert's 10 pounds heavier and has a gritter game, he may finally be ready but he won't be the scoring centerman he was duped as out of college and even after his great AHL season. Somethings just missing his Hilbert's game to become a high scoring player and you would never known that until he hit the NHL.
The reason I don't see Wellwood being an impact player in the NHL is because his game relies on time and space. In the AHL he has that time and space but in the NHL the space is smaller and the pace is faster. Then take into account that he is small (5'10" is fine if you play like your 6'2", but he doesn't) and doesn't have good speed, and you have a guy who might struggle. I think that Wellwood is finally getting recogntion for his skill, but Mcguire's obsession with him has made a lot of people think he is better then he really is.
Yeah, I'm surprised at all the attention he's receiving all of a sudden. He will be able to make it into the NHL, and to say Quinn didn't like small players...he didn't like Sullivan not because he was small, but I believe because he had attitude. Demsey Im not sure about.
Quinn was the one who signed him, if he didn't see a chance of Wellwood making it, why would he?
I think he will potentially be a consistent 3rd line player for TOR, but I don't think he will make it full time in the NHL for a few years. I see him as an injury callup for TOR in the next couple years and MAYBE being a second line player.
IMO Wellwood will be an NHL player, though painfully I have to admit whether it's with the Leafs is dubious... hope I'm wrong. He couldn't play on a 3 or 4 line IMO because he's an offensive set-up guy and would need skilled wingers to be effective in the NHL - man, what a stickhandler though! Raw skills galore, but size and foot-speed are an issue
All the same things were said about Marc Savard, Martin St. Louis, and all the other small players that "could never make it".
And most of them don't. Wellwood needs to get stronger to have a good shot at the pros. If he adds 10 pounds of muscle and keeps improving his skating, I don't see why he wouldn't have a good shot at making it.
Size has nothing to do with talent. It may have something to do with strength, but then how do you explain Theoren Fleury. There are so many great NHLer's who are small, Sergei Samsonov, Martin St. Louis, Steve Sullivan, but size isn't an issue there. So why is it such a big problem here.
He'll be a fine second-third liner, I don't know if he has enough talent to become a full time first liner, but a solid second or third line centre is something really valuable to a team. He'll do just fine.