Welch was captain of the St Sebastian’s High School team, leading them to the New England Prep School Championship. He won the John Carlton Memorial Award from the Boston Bruins in 2001. He was also named the MVP of the Independent School League during his senior year of high school. Welch was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round of the 2001 entry draft.
2001-02: Welch was Harvard’s Co-Rookie of the Year in 2002. In his four years at Harvard, Welch proved himself as one of the finest defensemen in the NCAA. He earned All-NCAA First Team honors on multiple occasions as well as serving as captain of Harvard. Welch was considered an offensive defenseman in his early college years before establishing himself as the Crimsons top defensive lynchpin.
2002-03: Had his best offensive season as a sophomore, scoring 28 points in 34 games, but it was his continued focus on his defensive work which made him so valuable to the Penguins organization.
2004-05: Welch still tallied six power-play goals to go with 12 assists in 33 games as well as compiling a team leading and career high 84 penalty minutes.
2005-06: Began his rookie pro season with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton after signing with the Penguins in April 2005. In 77 games, he had a total 29 points, 99 penalty minutes, and was +15 on the season. He was a member of the PlanetUSA team in the 2006 AHL All Star game where he recorded an assist.
2006-07: Welch began his second professional season with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, where he appeared in 27 games and totaled 21 points. He earned a recall to Pittsburgh from late October through early December, and a brief four game stretch in January for a total 22 games (1 goal, 1 assist). Welch was traded to the Florida Panthers in February of 2007 and would spend the majority of the remaining season with the Rochester Americans (AHL). In 11 games with the Amerks he totaled 6 points.
Welch became arguably one of the best defensemen playing in the NCAA during his college career. This versatile and talented defenseman has been a pillar of strength for Harvard over the last four seasons. One of Welch’s greatest strengths lies in his fluid skating. He moves equally well both laterally and horizontally on the ice. His transitional game is exceptional. He’s able to go from playing offense to defense quickly and rather easily without missing a beat and/or making a defensive mistake much of the time. He’s a very good playmaker who loves to jump up into the plays.
Another one of Welch’s strengths is the fact that he’s a smart and very instinctive player. He reads and follows plays extremely well and his reaction to them is equally good.
Welch has started to overcome a lacking in his physical game and his use of his large frame (6’4”/212). He has shown some physical play, but could show it more often. His strength has improved but will need to improve again as he enters the pro game.