Q & A with Green Bay’s Andy Welinski

TSR Features, TSR Interviews | 26 May 2011

      has arguably been this season’s biggest draft eligible riser with Central Scouting Services’ final rankings that were released in mid-April. The Duluth, Minn. native and University of Minnesota-Duluth recruit opted to leave Duluth and join the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL for his senior year of high school which also happened to be his draft year. Early in the year Welinski, who was the youngest defenseman amongst a very experienced defensive corps, saw himself being healthy scratched by head coach Eric Rud.

     Midway through the year, Welinski became a regular in the Gamblers lineup and scouts took notice. Welinski shot up from the 103rd spot in Central Scouting Services’ midterm rankings to the 48th spot in CSS’ final rankings. TSR had the chance to talk to the defenseman who is projected to go anywhere from the 2nd to 5th round in the draft which is taking place in Welinski’s home state of Minnesota.

TSR: Do you have any regrets about leaving Duluth after seeing how well your high school did this season? (Duluth East lost in the AA State title game to Eden Prairie in 3OT)

AW: No not really. I’m happy with the decision I made and I think I am a better hockey player because of it. I was able to watch every game that they played in and kind of cheered them on. It was really good to see how well they did.

TSR: You really flew up the CSS rankings moving up 55 spots from 103 to 48. What happened?

AW: I can’t really pinpoint anything in particular. At the beginning of the season I was in and out of the lineup, but towards the middle of the season I started playing in every game and really started to get into a rhythm and got a lot more confidence in my game because of it. I don’t know if I played different, but I was just more confident out on the ice as the season went on.

(Photo: Indianapolis Star)

TSR: Did you ever become discouraged with not being in the lineup every game or regret your decision to leave Duluth?

AW: I think it was a good situation and it really pushed me to get onto the ice and playing every night and I never thought about going back home.

TSR: You were invited to the NHL Combine in Toronto. With the combine being a week from your last game in Green Bay do you feel like you are at a bit of disadvantage? Obviously there are guys who were done with their season weeks and even months ago that have been preparing for the combine since then.

AW: Yeah, it’s really going to be a quick turn-around, but [teams] realize it too. I don’t think it’s going to hurt me, but I have to work out this week and do the best I can because it’s not going to do anything positive for me if I just sit back [this week].

TSR: Anything that you are focusing on especially this week in preparation for the combine?

AW: With just a week there’s not a whole lot I can improve on too much, but I’ll run through the tests so I know what I am doing when I get there.

TSR: I see online that you are being recruited to play in your backyard at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Have you committed to UMD? Do you know what your plans are for next season?

AW: I’ve given them a verbal commitment, but haven’t signed a letter of intent. I haven’t officially talked to them about what is going to happen next year yet. …I’m going to work as hard as I can this summer and see what happens.

TSR: Derek Forbert, though he left to play in for the USNTDP after his junior year, went to Duluth East as well. Have you talked to him about his draft experiences and has he given you any advice?

AW: I’m pretty good friends with Derek, but I haven’t really seen him as of late. I talked to him a little bit about the combine and he had some good things to say so that’s kind of comforting that he’s been through it and had a good experience.

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