Former UMass hockey forward Casey Wellman will head overseas for the first time in his career next season, inking a deal with Spartak Moscow of the KHL, the team's twitter account announced on Monday.
Wellman, who has spent the past three seasons in the Washington Capitals' organization, is the second Minuteman with NHL experience to head to the KHL as Matt Anderson '07 has played for Moscow Spartak, Zagreb Medvescak and Nizhnekamsk Neftekhimik since 2013.
Here's a look at what's on tap for the American Hockey League teams with former Minutemen on their roster for this coming weekend:
Conor Allen (Hartford Wolf Pack) - 3/21 vs. St. Johns (7 PM), 3/22 at Adirondack (7 PM) Joel Hanley (Portland Pirates) - 3/23 at Bridgeport (3 PM) - Listen Danny Hobbs (Binghamton Senators) - 3/21 at Norfolk (7:30 PM), 3/22 at Norfolk (7:15 PM) - Listen Michael Pereira (Worcester Sharks) - 3/21 vs. Springfield (7:30 PM), 3/22 vs. Hershey (7 PM) - Listen Conor Sheary (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins) - 3/21 at Syracuse (7 PM), 3/22 vs. Utica (7:05 PM), 3/23 at Albany (4 PM) - Listen
Casey Wellman (Hershey Bears) - 3/21 at Providence (7:05 PM), 3/22 at Worcester (7 PM), 3/23 at Manchester (3 PM) - Listen
Live stats for all games can be found on TheAHL.com
NHL teams returned to practice after their Olympic break ended Wednesday, and with several Washington Capitals still participating at the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, the Caps found themselves a little thin at forward.
Because of that, Washington recalled centers Michael Latta, Ryan Stoa and Casey Wellman from the AHL's Hershey Bears on Thursday morning.
Casey Wellman missed two chances to score on Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard, but in the same rapid-fire sequence there was another rebound. He finished the job.
The former University of Massachusetts star, who has been traded by three teams, has learned that to be successful in the NHL it sometimes takes a few tries.
Wellman has scored twice for the Washington Capitals since his Jan. 25 callup. Both times, he was on the receiving end of passes from superstar Alex Ovechkin. Wellman's next goal is to prove he should stay.
"I would love for this to be my last stop," Wellman, 26, said after stepping off the ice Tuesday at the Capitals' practice facility. "I'd love to make a spot for myself on this team."
Former UMass hockey players Matt Irwin and Casey Wellman were both recalled by their respective NHL clubs today. Irwin will rejoin the San Jose Sharks after playing nine games with the Sharks at the start of the season.
Former UMass hockey standout Casey Wellman, who was traded by the Minnesota Wild last Thursday to the New York Rangers, is featured today by his new team, the Connecticut Whale, on the squad's web site, CTWhale.com
Casey Wellman played several sports growing up in Brentwood, Calif., hardly a hotbed for hockey.
But Wellman got hooked on the game played on ice after his father, Brad, met several New Jersey Devils players who asked him to skate with them in Boston.
"Dad didn't know how to skate, so he was pretty upset about that," Wellman said with a smile.
But Brad, an infielder for 441 games for three major league teams over eight seasons who later managed in the Houston Astros organization, introduced Casey and his brother, Logan, to hockey, and 31/2-year-old Casey fell in love with his new endeavor.
"I have some vague memories (of his dad playing), but I was pretty young," said Wellman, whose uncle, Tom Candiotti, is a former major league pitcher known for his knuckleball. "Having pictures of a father-son game is pretty cool, but I haven't played baseball for a while. It's a great sport, but at the time, it was just a little slow, a little boring, so I stuck with hockey."
Despite his West Coast upbringing, Wellman is now surprisingly playing professionally with the Connecticut Whale, who are about 70 miles from where he competed collegiately on the East Coast. When Wellman was on his way to practice with the Houston Aeros last Thursday, he got "a pretty big surprise," a call that the Minnesota Wild had traded him to the New York Rangers.
"It was definitely pretty crazy, a bit of a shock," said Wellman, 24, acquired for center Erik Christensen, who had a two-week conditioning assignment with the Whale in mid-January, and a conditional seventh-round pick in 2013. "It was tough to say goodbye because I had some good friends (in Houston), but that's the business and that's what can happen and probably won't be the last time."
Wellman quickly returned home, packed and headed for Hershey, Pa., where he met his new teammates. Whale coach Ken Gernander put Wellman on a line with All-Star Jonathan Audy-Marchessault and rugged Andre Deveaux, and the trio helped produce a 4-1 victory over one of the AHL's top teams, including going 5-for-5 on the penalty kill against the league's top power play.
In his home debut Tuesday night, Wellman again helped on the penalty kill, played the power play and assisted on Blake Parlett's winning goal in a 3-1 victory over the Syracuse Crunch as the Whale won their third in a row after an 11-game winless streak (0-6-3-2) in January to reclaim first place in the Northeast Division from the idle Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Dick Baker of the Springfield Republican has an update on Justin Braun (San Jose Sharks, NHL), Matt Irwin (Worcester Sharks, AHL) and Casey Wellman (Minnesota Wild, NHL).
Braun played a season-high 21 minutes in a 3-2 win over Edmonton, while Irwin was reassigned to Worcester. After being called up from Houston, Wellman has been sidelined with the an injury for the Wild.
Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune has a feature on Casey Wellman that was picked up nationally. The story centers on the development of Wellman who is a rare Californian playing in the top professional ranks between the NHL's Minnesota Wild and the AHL's Houston Aeros - whom he helped nearly win the Calder Cup last season.
Former UMass Minutemen, Casey Wellman currently of the Minnesota Wild, Johnathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings, Victor Cruz of the New York Giants and Jeremy Horn of the Kansas City Chiefs continue to excel as their professional athletic careers continue to take form in the 2011/12 hockey and football seasons.
As the NHL Preseason continues, former UMass standout Casey Wellman was reassigned by the Minnesota Wild to the Houston Aeros where he played the bulk of last year helping the team reach the Calder Cup Finals.
The Minneosta Wild have their first episode of Becoming Wild available online. The video follows the journey of the Houston Aeros which made a run to the Calder Cup FInals this year. UMass' Casey Wellman is prominently featured throughout.
"The Minnesota Wild's version of 24 / 7 or Oil Change is now available online for everyone outside the FSN viewing area. I watched the premiere episode last night, and I can tell yo without hesitation, you will not be disappointed. From the opening sequence to the final "cliffhanger" you will be riveted watching it.
Great lines abound as they talk with Colton Gillies, Casey Wellman, Mike Yeo, and Aeros GM Jim Mill. Watch as Yeo lights up the boys in the Calder Cup playoffs and they actually... respond. Great stuff, with behind the scenes access that regular media can only dream of. "
Mike Yeo is expected to be named the new head coach of the Minnesota Wild at a news conference today at 11 AM. Yeo has been the coach of the AHL Houston Aeros which made it to the Calder Cup Finals before falling to the Binghamton Senators.
This could bode well for Casey Wellman as he spent most of the past season in Houston with Yeo.
The Binghamton Senators won both Games 4 and 5 of the AHL Calder Cup Finals over the weekend to take a 3-2 lead in the series over Casey Wellman's Houston Aeros. The Series will move back to Houston for Game 6 (Tuesday night) and Game 7 (Thursday night).
Casey Wellman and the Houston Aeros won Game 1 of the Calder Cup Finals 3-1 on Friday only to fall in Game 2 to the Binghamton Senators 2-1 in overtime on Saturday. Game 3 is Wednesday at the Groome County Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton.
Wellman scored Houston's only goal on Saturday night.
Casey Wellman scored a pair of goals and Jon DiSalvatore scored with 1:13 left in regulation as the Houston Aeros got past the Hamilton Bulldogs in Game 7 of the AHL Western Conference Finals last night.
The Aeros will face the Binghamton Senators hosting Games 1 and 2 of the Calder Cup Finals on Friday at Saturday nights.
Casey Wellman and the Houston Aeros will look to get past the Hamilton Bulldogs tonight at 7 PM (CST) for a spot in the AHL Calder Cup Championship. Houston won the first three games of the series, while Hamilton has won the last three. Fans can watch the game on www.ahllive.com.
Casey Wellman's Houston Aeros fell 5-4 in double-overtime last night in the AHL Western Conference Finals as the Hamilton Bulldogs found the game-winning goal 9:11 into the second OT. That sets up Game 7 of the series on Tuesday night at Houston's Toyota Center. The winner gets a berth in the Calder Cup Championship Series.
Wellman was held scoreless last night despite taking three shots.
Four former Minutemen are currently in the AHL Playoffs which also got underway this week. Casey Wellman's Houston Aeros won game one of their series with Peoria, 4-1, on Wednesday. David Leaderer's Milwaukee Admirals defeated Texas 5-2 in game one of that series. Alex Berry's Norfolk Admirals will start their series with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton tonight, while Greg Mauldin's Lake Erie Monsters will host Manitoba on Saturday.
So far four teams featuring for members of the Mass Attack have clinched spots for the AHL Playoffs as the regular-season winds down to its final couple of games. One more spot in the 16 team field will be decided by Sunday which is the last day of the regular-season.
As a professional athlete and the son of a former Major League Baseball player, one might expect Houston Aeros rookie forward Casey Wellman to also be plying his trade with bats and gloves instead of sticks and pucks.
Wellman's father, Brad, spent much of the 1980s as an infielder in the majors, hanging up his spikes in 1989 when Casey was barely 2 years old.
And while Wellman did give baseball a try in his youth, the speed and excitement of hockey ultimately won him over.
Former UMass Hockey standout Casey Wellman was recalled to the Minnesota Wild from the Houston Aeros (AHL) on Thursday. Wellman made the most of his opportunity, and scored the eventual game-winning goal on Thursday night in the second period against the New York Rangers.
So far this season, Wellman has a goal and an assist in 14 games played.
Casey Wellman is one of the few players in Minnesota Wild to join the team as a free agent right out of college. Having just completed his sophomore campaign at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Wellman signed a free agent deal with Minnesota and was here the remainder of the season. Wellman started this season as a member of the Houston Aeros, but he was quickly recalled and the speedy forward has been playing big minutes ever since.
Wellman is the sixth Minnesota Wild player to answer fan emails this season, and he's the new record holder for receiving the most questions. Granted, a lot of those were questions from some ladies looking to score a date, and they'll be sad to know that Casey has a girlfriend.
But he got plenty more questions that he was happy to talk about, including the decision to turn pro, the influence of his professional baseball playing father and why teammates are calling him "Shane Falco."
UMass will have three former players suiting up in NHL games tonight as Jonathan Quick, Casey Wellman and Greg Mauldin will all be in action.
Wellman and the Minnesota Wild will host Anaheim at 8 PM, Mauldin and the Colorado Avalanche will host San Jose at 9 PM, while Quick and the L.A. Kings will host Columbus at 10:30 PM. All times are Eastern.
Fans can submit questions for Casey Wellman to answer next Monday on the Minnesota Wild's web site.
We've heard from Nick Schultz, Cal Clutterbuck, Brad Staubitz, Mikko Koivu and Justin Falk. Now, Casey Wellman
will step into the fan spotlight and face questions from the masses.
The speedy rookie, who started the season in Houston, has ramped up his
game and he's now getting significant ice time on the top lines, and
the power play. With three games in four nights starting tomorrow, Casey's answers to your questions will appear on Wild.com on Monday.
In Dick Baker's MassLive.com UMass Hockey Blog, Dick updates fans on Mike Kostka and Casey Wellman's pro careers. He also brings a bit of news from New Hampshire as senior forward Mike Sislo said on the Hockey East online chat session yesterday that the Wildcats won't have a let down this weekend against UMass.
Minnesota Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher today announced the National Hockey League (NHL) club has recalled forward Casey Wellman from the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League (AHL).
Wellman, 23 (10/18/87), has posted three points (2-1=3) in six games for Houston this season. The 6-foot, 186-pound native of Brentwood, Calif., began the season with Minnesota, playing in one game, Oct. 8 against Carolina. Last season, Wellman signed as a free agent with the Wild on March 16, and totaled four points (1-3=4) in 12 games with Minnesota. Wellman, an undrafted free agent out of the University of Massachusetts, wears No. 17 with the Wild.
After being assigned to the Minnesota Wild's AHL affiliate Houston Aeros last weekend, Casey Wellman is already making an impact. Last night, he scored the game-winning goal against the Oklahoma City Barons in overtime.
The organization is reaching out to players' families, too, so they can understand the opportunities in college and the long-term benefits of an education. According to Kelly, just 5 percent of elite players in both junior and college hockey make it to the NHL.
In Dick Baker's MassLive.com UMass Hockey Blog, he has several posts on recent UMass skaters with updates on their pro careers. He also previews what will be a hot topic this weekend as the Pereira brothers face-off in Saturday's game at Boston University.
After returning from Finland around 4 AM this morning, it's been reported the Casey Wellman plans to stop by the UMass/Minnesota game tonight. Wellman played last night in the loss to Carolina that was played in Helsinki.
Former UMass Hockey forward Casey Wellman and the Minnesota Wild are getting ready to kick off the 2010-11 NHL season with two games in Helsinki, Finland beginning tomorrow. The "View From The Lighthouse" Blog on the Wild website hints that Wellman will get the start on a wing for the season opener against Carolina after his strong finish to preseason play.
Today's installment of Dick Baker's MassLive.com Hockey Blog takes a look at Chase Langeraap and Rocco Carzo's summer activities as well as an update on Casey Wellman as NHL Preseason Camp continues. Over the summer break, Langeraap worked for the UMass Athletic Facilities & Operations crew. One of the projects he worked on was the rebuilding of the outfield wall at the softball complex. Carzo spent part of his off-season training with the Chicago Blackhawks at their Prospect Camp.
Dick Baker has several new entries in his UMass Hockey Blog on MassLive.com. One interesting thing to point out is that Justin Braun, James Marcou and Cory Quirk were all assigned to the Worcester Sharks over the weekend. The trio will join Matt Irwin with the AHL affiliate of the San Jose Sharks.
Dick Baker of the Springfield Republican added three new entries into his UMass Hockey Blog as the Mass Attack inches closer to its exhibition game with New Brunswick on October 2. The first post discusses the Minutemen's pre-season scrimmage, which was held Thursday afternoon in anticipation of the conditioning sessions slated for early next week.
After joining the Minnesota Wild last season, Casey Wellman has really started to come on strong as the club prepares for training camp. In last week's Traverse City Prospect Tournament, Wellman led the Wild prospects to an undefeated title. He earned praise from Assistant General Manager Brent Flaher: "We feel very positive about our young group of players," said Flahr. "From the net out, Matt Hackett performed very well... our back end appears to be in good shape going forward as well. Our forwards were led by Casey Wellman and Cody Almond and both players appear close to challenging for a spot on the big team."
No surprise, but Wellman earned Flaher's Best Offensive Player Award:
The center tallied five points (2-3=5) and a +4 rating in Traverse City, using his speed to generate a lot of offense. He was a dangerous player every game.
The Minnesota Wild have a 5-Questions To Focus On piece as the start of training camp looms. The No. 2 Question - Does the James Sheppard injury open the door for Casey Wellman? The answer: Prior to James Sheppard's knee injury, the chances of Casey Wellman cracking the Wild's roster seemed rather bleak, at least to start the year. Even with Sheppard out for an extended period, the Wild still has four centermen in Kyle Brodziak, Matt Cullen, Mikko Koivu and John Madden. Of course, Wellman could always move to the wing, and the Wild staff are likely anxious to see how that works. The speedy Wellman added significant muscle in the offseason, and Brent Flahr said he was the best player on the Wild's undefeated Traverse City team. It appears Wellman has a much better shot at making the team out of camp, but the Wild may be more inclined to start him in Houston where he can get top line minutes, as well as power play and penalty kill time.
UMass alum Andy Merritt has an interesting read in the New England Hockey Journal on the dilemma of college hockey players to leave college early for the professional ranks. In his story, he mentions UMass' losses following last season of James Marcou, Casey Wellman and Matt Irwin. He has several quotes from UMass coach Don "Toot" Cahoon as well as quotes from Hockey East Commissioner Joe Bertagna.
Casey Wellman led the Minnesota Wild to the Traverse City Prospects Tournament and earned praise for his efforts over the last several days. General Manager Brett Flaher lauded Wellman who's put on a lot of muscle this offseason and will vie for a roster spot this training camp. "Wellman was a star throughout the tournament," Flahr said. "He was a little tired today, as we all were."
Looking to crack into the line-up with the Minnesota Wild as the NHL season is just around the corner, Casey Wellman has had an impressive preseason. Last night he turned in another great effort with a goal and assist against Columbus for a 5-1 win in the Traverse City Prospects Tournament. "With a goal and an assist he was simply the best player on the ice today. He was flying all over, using his speed to put tons of pressure on the Columbus defenseman and generate a lot of scoring chances."
The parents of Minnesota Wild forward Casey Wellman happened upon a story about Amanda Nieman online. In it, Amanda named Casey as her favorite hockey player. After his parents told him about it, Wellman asked Wild staffers to arrange a meeting. KSTP-TV was there when he surprised Amanda, by showing up at what she thought was a simple interview at the Xcel Energy Center. (VIDEO EMBEDDED IN STORY)
Minnesota Wild center James Sheppard broke his kneecap on Saturday night in an ATV accident which could help solidify a roster spot for Casey Wellman. According to the AP story, "The timing couldn't be much worse for Sheppard, a former first-round draft pick who has been slow to develop. The Wild signed veterans Matt Cullen (FSY) and John Madden (FSY) this summer to bolster the center position, and prospects Cody Almond (FSY) and Casey Wellman (FSY) are expected to get a chance to challenge for roster spots in training camp." The story was covered in USA Today, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and Yahoo Sports.
According to www.HockeysFuture.com, Casey Wellman is the 8th-best prospect for the NHL's Minnesota Wild. Author Peter Prohaska writes "A decent late season tryout with the Wild went about as well as could be expected, seeing Wellman pot one goal and three assists in 12 games. This has produced some understandable excitement among the Wild faithful, but Wellman is unlikely to be the answer for a still unremarkable offensive team. At around 170 pounds, he is undersized and his skating leaves much to be desired. He does however possess a quick, accurate shot. It will be interesting to see how much time he and fellow newly acquired sniper Joel Broda get to spend in St. Paul this season."
With the signing of John Madden last Friday, competition is going to be fierce for a roster spot on the Minnesota Wild. A 37-year old, veteran two-way center, the signing of Madden means Casey Wellman will have to fight for a spot on the roster.
Michael Russo has a nice mention of Casey Wellman in his Minnesota Wild blog on StarTribune.com. Russo points out the fact that aggressively going after Mike Modano sets the stage for Wellman to make the team again this year. He also states that Wellman has physically developed more since being with the club and that this move could allow him to make a bigger impact with the club.