The San Antonio Rampage are already familiar with Casey Wellman. The centerman scored four goals and one assist in five games against the Rampage last season, upping his total to 12 career points (9g, 3a) in 10 games against San Antonio.
But as the start of the 2012-13 season approaches, Rampage fans will be a lot happier when they see him in friendlier colors.
“Wellman is a guy we saw last year in Houston and we’re glad he’s on our side this year,” Rampage head coach Chuck Weber said. “He’s a skill player, he can shoot the puck and makes players around him better. He loves to play the game and he plays at a high speed.”
Wellman, 24, comes into San Antonio after spending a good part of last season with cross-state rival, the Houston Aeros. While there, he scored 25 points (14g, 11a) in 26 games and earned a 14-game stint with the NHL’s Minnesota Wild.
Midway through the season, he was traded from the Wild to the New York Rangers and he was assigned to finish the year with the Connecticut Whale. The Panthers acquired Wellman from the Rangers in exchange for the club’s fifth round selection in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
The Brentwood, Calif., native brings a playmaking and scoring touch to a Rampage team that lost some of its offense in the offseason.
Wellman took some time after the first day of training camp to answer questions about his summer and his hopes for the upcoming season.
Q: How was the summer?
A: Summer was good. I did some traveling and winded up training in Minnesota.
Q: How are you adjusting to town?
A: I was in Houston for a little bit so I’m pretty familiar with Texas. We played San Antonio a bunch of times last year so I know it a little about the city. I like the area.
Q: Have the guys helped out with the transition?
A: Yeah, some of the guys who know the areas took me around and showed me some good spots. So it’s been a pretty easy transition.
Q: Are you ready to come in and help the offense?
A: Yeah, I think so. I know there have been some guys we lost but I had a similar role in Houston and I’m ready to do it again. I’m expecting the best of myself and I’m expecting to bring it every game.
Q: How has the lockout affected your mentality going into camp?
A: Obviously there’s no NHL season as of right now. I’d like to be there, but this is the best league right now so I just need to make sure I’m playing hard and producing. I’m just looking forward to start.
Q: What’d you work on today in camp?
A: It was the first day back, but I think it was a good practice. We got the legs going up to speed. We did a few drills, two-on-ones and a little D-zone coverage. But, you know, it was the first day and we’re just getting back into the swing of things.
Q: What’s the biggest thing you worked on over the summer? Something you’ve wanted improve?
A: I think just getting stronger. I worked out a lot over the summer, trying to get faster. Those are the things you have to work on in this league and the next. One thing that I know I always need to work on is just D-zone coverage. I’m a lot better at it since I first entered the league. To make the team I know I have to get better at it.