The Winnipeg Jets have put pen to paper on a new five-year deal with team captain Blake Wheeler worth a reported $41.25 million.
His new deal will kick in for the 2019-20 season, increasing his cap hit from it’s current $5.6 million hit, to $8.25 million.
Wheeler was set to become an unrestricted free agent after the upcoming season, but instead will lead the team through what looks to be an incredibly exciting time for the Jets organisation, as many of their young stars are hitting their prime.
After initially joining the Jets during the 2011-12 season, after the team relocated from Atlanta, Wheeler has enjoyed great success, captaining the side for the past two-seasons, and keeps getting better with each season.
The 32-year-old from Plymouth, Michigan is coming off a career year with a massive 91 point season, ninth best overall in the league and the most by a long shot for Winnipeg, beating young star Patrik Laine who was second with 70 points.
Since joining the NHL back in 2008, Wheeler has gone on to feature in 778 games, putting up 605 points in that time as well for the Boston Bruins, Atlanta Thrashers and now the Winnipeg Jets, but his excellent season this year saw him named to hist first ever NHL All-Star game, finishing up the season with a tied-league best 68 assists, and given the weapons the Jets have stacked up around him, it’s hard to see why Blake Wheeler is thriving right now.
Winnipeg have a great immediate future ahead of them, led by captain Wheeler, and with Patrik Laine already proving himself as one of the best snipers in the world, as well as Mark Scheifele and Nikolaj Ehlers proving to be dominant forces offensively, the team looks set to be one of the best in terms of offensive potential, while there defensive core with Dustin Byfuglien, Tyler Myers, Jacob Trouba as well as Josh Morrissey is just a deadly, with Connor Hellebuyck being one of the best netminders on the league when he’s on his game.
The Wheeler extension isn’t the only bit of big business the Jets have conducted this off-season, also penning a big extension for netminder Connor Hellebuyck earlier in the summer, with the side really looking to lock up their core group of guys as they are becoming, and arguably have already become, one of the most underrated teams in the NHL.
In fact, if it wasn’t for the fact that Toronto are Toronto so get all the attention, and just signed John Tavares, they should be the most talked about team in Canada, with the best chance of going on a deep cup run sooner rather than later.
Featured image credit: Sportsnet.ca