Jay Wells had the reputation for being a rugged defensive stalwart while playing three years of junior hockey with the Kingston Canadians from 1976 to 1979 and his qualities were something the L.A. Kings were in dire need of for their weak defense. The Kings selected Wells with their 1st-round pick, 16th overall in 1979. Wells would spend the next nine NHL seasons clearing the front of the Kings' crease with great success before moving on to the Philadelphia Flyers, where he played two seasons.
He then had a two-year stopover with the Buffalo Sabres before heading on to the bright lights of Broadway where he suited up for the New York Rangers for four years. The highlight of his career came in 1994 when, as a member of the Rangers, he helped the club end a 54-year drought, winning the Stanley Cup in a hard-fought, seven-game series against the Vancouver Canucks.
The best individual season for Wells came in 1985-86 as a member of the Kings, when he scored eleven goals and 31 assists for 42 points. Even more impressive was he was able to produce his highest offensive scoring output while also spending 226 minutes in the penalty box, also a single-season career high.
Wells spent the 1995-96 season in St. Louis, playing 76 games for the Blues. At the age of 37, Wells returned for one more season, suiting up for the Tampa Bay Lightning for 21 games. With his veteran leadership and vast experience, the Lightning wanted him to help tutor some of the club's young, up-and-coming defenseman.