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.
The 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.