Kyle Wellwood, Comeback Kid

It is perhaps understating things to say that I’m not the world’s biggest fan of Kyle Wellwood. However, given my previous criticism of his play, I think it’s only fair that I acknowledge how good he has been since joining the San Jose Sharks.

I did not expect things to go this way. Wellwood was returning to the NHL after a less-than-stellar half-season in the Kontinental Hockey League, where he was getting outscored by people like Zbynek Irgl and Alexei Glukhov. He was not in the KHL because of his stellar work in the NHL either.

Yet his results in San Jose have been very, very good, as a quick glance at some of his advanced Behind the Net statistics shows. All numbers are from the regular season, and over an average of 60 minutes at even-strength:

  • Goals For: 2.07
  • Goals Against: 0.65
  • Shots For: 33.6
  • Shots Against: 22.2

Wellwood’s had an easier Zone Start number in the playoffs, but the other numbers are very similar: with him on the ice, the Sharks are outscoring their opposition at a rate of 3:1, outshooting them by an average of 33 to 26.

It’s been an extremely impressive return, especially for a guy who has been a fringe NHL player for the majority of his career.

Plus, it’s hard not to love the chutzpah of a guy who can criticize the Canucks for being “scared of losing” while wearing a Sharks’ uniform.