The Calgary Flames are adding some depth to the back end in the form of puck-mover Andy Welinski. The team has announced that they have signed the veteran defenseman to a one-year, two-way contract. CapFriendly reports that the deal will pay Welinski the minimum $750K in the NHL and $375K in the AHL, with $400K guaranteed.
A long-time Anaheim Duck, or more accurately San Diego Gull, who was also briefly a member of the Philadelphia Flyers organization, Welinski has flown north and traded in his wings for flames. The 28-year-old defenseman has been a reliable two-way defenseman in the AHL for five years now, also appearing in 46 NHL games with Anaheim. While he isn’t an electrifying talent in either the scoring or checking game, he is a strong skater and handles the puck well. This makes him a dependable call-up option who can step in and play meaningful minutes in all situations. Hence the high guaranteed salary, as Welinski’s value is in the security he brings as a backup, not his upside.
In Calgary, Welinski will be playing behind a deep defensive group eventually, but right now is one of only four experienced NHL defensemen under contract, with returners Juuso Valimaki, Oliver Kylington, and Connor Mackey and newcomer Nikita Zadorov all as unrestricted free agents. With a lot of youth and some players with consistency concerns among the Flames defenders, it makes sense why having the reliable Welinski waiting in the wings is a smart addition for the team.