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Canucks claim centre Wellwood off waivers

TSN.ca Staff

6/25/2008 3:47:43 PM

The Vancouver Canucks added some depth down the middle for next season, claiming soon-to-be restricted free agent centre Kyle Wellwood off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Canucks can retain his rights by giving him a qualifying offer and he would not become an unrestricted free agent.

"I was really excited," Wellwood told CKNW radio in Vancouver. "I wasn't sure what was going to happen and what other teams in the NHL would think of me, but for Vancouver to take a chance and pick me up - I'm really happy."

Last season, Wellwood struggled through an injury-riddled campaign as he dealt with a nagging groin injury. Tabbed as a second-line player with the Maple Leafs out of training camp, the playmaking centre finished with just 21 points in 59 games.

"I always took my talent and things for granted, and you know, I ended up losing my job," Wellwood told the Team 1040 radio in Vancouver. "So, for me to get another chance to prove I can be a professional and prove I can be a character guy for the team, I'm going to try and take advantage of it."

In 2006-07, Wellwood missed 33 games after undergoing surgery to repair a sports hernia.