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Wheeler rolls out long term deal

Jets forward Blake Wheeler agrees to new six-year contract with the Winnipeg Jets.

Saturday, 27.07.2013 / 4:23 PM / News Articles
By Kristi Hennessy  - Coordinator, Web Content

It was late into the evening on Friday, July 26th, but the announcement was made that the Winnipeg Jets had agreed to terms with forward Blake Wheeler on a new six-year, $33.6 million dollar contract.

“For me it was virtually a no-brainer,” said Wheeler in a conference call Saturday morning. “I sat down with my agent in April or May and we had the discussion. I looked him in the eyes and said, “This is where I want to be”.

“I believe in people like Mark Chipman and Chevy (GM Kevin Cheveldayoff), what everyone stands for and especially in my teammates. I have believed since I got here that we have what it takes to get to the next level, so this is just a part of that process. I truly believe that great things are in store for this group.”

Wheeler, 26, played in 48 games with the Winnipeg Jets last season. In that time, the right-winger recorded 41 points (19G, 22A) and 28 penalty minutes. He led the Jets in goals and ranked second on the club’s leaderboard in overall points.

The Robbinsdale, MN native has played in 372 career NHL games between Boston, Atlanta and Winnipeg for 232 career points (93G, 139A) and 228 penalty minutes. He has also appeared in 21 post-season games, all with the Bruins for six points (1G, 5A) and six penalty minutes.

On February 18th, 2011, the Bruins traded Wheeler and Mark Stuart to the Atlanta Thrashers for Boris Valabik and Rich Peverley. That summer, Wheeler was scheduled to go to arbitration when the Winnipeg Jets opened the door to a new opportunity by signing the restricted free agent to a two-year contract on July 18th, 2011. Back then, he didn’t hesitate to sign on the dotted line and now with his second contract with this franchise, he begins his new opportunity.

Now, having that vote of confidence from the franchise, I’m the kind of person who takes that and runs with it. Having faith put on me gives me life and energy to go out there and hopefully reach new heights.Blake Wheeler

“I felt I had more to give and was given that opportunity in Winnipeg,” said Wheeler. “My struggles at the beginning in Winnipeg was a bit of a reflection of pressing too much and trying too hard and putting too much pressure on myself. Now, having that vote of confidence from the franchise, I’m the kind of person who takes that and runs with it. Having faith put on me gives me life and energy to go out there and hopefully reach new heights.”

Wheeler was placed on the top line with Bryan Little and captain Andrew Ladd from day one with the Jets, a big step up from playing on the third and fourth lines, in Boston.

“That was a huge vote of confidence right off the bat,” said Wheeler. “That added ice-time and that added responsibility was something that I wanted. It gave me a shot of life and something that I definitely needed in my career. I play with two great players and we really compliment each other well, so that’s helped me take my game to the next level.”

Looking forward to next season, Wheeler was asked to share his thoughts on the new off-season additions of Michael Frolik and Devin Setoguchi.

“I think they are great additions,” Wheeler expressed. “You have two guys who have proved they can provide offense and Frolik just won the Stanley Cup. You can never discount adding a Stanley Cup Champion to your team, it’s an instant boost right away. I’m really excited about what they bring to the table because I think they can really help take our team to the next level.”


Author: Kristi Hennessy / Winnipeg Jets Staff

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
B. Wheeler 82 28 41 4 69
B. Little 82 23 41 8 64
D. Byfuglien 78 20 36 -20 56
A. Ladd 78 23 31 8 54
O. Jokinen 82 18 25 -8 43
M. Frolik 81 15 27 8 42
E. Kane 63 19 22 -7 41
M. Scheifele 63 13 21 9 34
T. Enstrom 82 10 20 -9 30
J. Trouba 65 10 19 4 29
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Montoya 13 8 3 .920 2.30
O. Pavelec 22 26 7 .901 3.01