The Winnipeg Jets announced this morning that they have signed their captain Blake Wheeler to a five-year contract extension. The contract is worth $41.25 million and has an average annual salary of $8.25 million. The contract carries him through the 2023-24 NHL season.
Jets Extend Blake Wheeler
Wheeler had a career year last season scoring 23 goals and adding 68 assists for 91 points. His 68 assists were tied for the most in the entire league last season. Of those 68 assists, 48 were primary assists which were a league best. It was also the fifth straight season where Wheeler hit the 20 goal plateau. Wheeler also finished fifth in playoff scoring last season as he scored three goals and added 18 assists in 17 games.
Wheeler represented the Jets at last years NHL All-Star game in January, which was his first All-Star game appearance. He was also a finalist for the Mark Messier Leadership Award.
Wheeler was originally drafted in the in the first round, fifth overall by the Phoenix Coyotes (now Arizona). He never played a game for the Coyotes however as he signed with the Boston Bruins in the wake of his junior year with the University of Minnesota. Wheeler was moved to the Jets organization after two-and-ahalf seasons when they were still located in Atlanta. The deal sent Brad Stuart and himself to the Thrashers for Rich Peverley and Boris Valabik. He has spent the last eight years of his career with the organization and was named team captain on August 31st, 2016.
Over his career, Wheeler has scored 222 goals and 383 assists in 778 games with Boston, Atlanta and Winnipeg.
What This Means for the Jets Moving Forward
The contract pretty much solidifies that Wheeler will finish his career with the Jets organization. It also shows that the Jets mean business. The Jets are trying to keep their core intact to be a contender for Lord Stanley’s Cup. The next order of business will be to get Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor locked up long term.
Winnipeg is one of the strongest teams in the Western Conference and holds the best odds of any western team to win the cup according to Vegas odds. They also hold the third best odds in the entire league. After getting bounced by the Vegas Golden Knights in last years Western Conference final, the Jets will be coming back with a vengeance, led by none other than Captain Blake Wheeler.
WINNIPEG, MANITOBA – APRIL 7: Blake Wheeler #26 of the Winnipeg Jets watches for a shot from the point in front of Jeff Glass #30 of the Chicago Blackhawks during NHL action on April 7, 2018 at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg, Manitoba. (Photo by Jason Halstead /Getty Images)