Wheeler in October 2014.
August 31, 1986 |
Plymouth, MN, USA
|Height||6 ft 5 in (196 cm)|
|Weight||225 lb (102 kg; 16 st 1 lb)|
|National team||United States|
|NHL Draft||5th overall, 2004
Blake James Wheeler (born August 31, 1986) is an American professional ice hockey right winger and an alternate captain for the Winnipeg Jets of the National Hockey League (NHL). He was drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes in the first round, fifth overall, in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. Wheeler was born in Plymouth, Minnesota, but grew up in Robbinsdale, Minnesota. After failing to come to terms on a contract with the Phoenix Coyotes, he signed with the Boston Bruins as a Free Agent.
Wheeler attended Breck School his freshman year through his junior year. There, during his junior year, Wheeler had his breakout season, putting up a state-high 45 goals and 55 assists in 2003–04. He led his team to a Class A State Hockey Championship that season, and scored a hat trick in the final game.
Wheeler opted to forgo his senior year to play in the United States Hockey League (USHL) with the Green Bay Gamblers. After playing one season with the Gamblers, Wheeler attended the University of Minnesota. In 2005–06, his freshman year with the Minnesota Golden Gophers, he recorded 23 points in 39 games, playing alongside future Boston Bruins teammate Phil Kessel. Wheeler is praised for his deceptive speed with his large body frame, and his ability to stick handle at such high speeds.[by whom?]
In the 2007 WCHA Final Five tournament, Wheeler recorded a hat trick in a 4–2 win in the semifinal game against the University of Wisconsin–Madison. In the championship game, Wheeler scored the game-winning goal in a 3–2 overtime win against the North Dakota Fighting Sioux. The play was featured on ESPN's SportsCenter and quickly gained notoriety for its similarity to the game-winning goal in the 1979 NCAA Championship Game, scored by Minnesota's Neal Broten, also against North Dakota. Wheeler was named the tournament MVP.
Early in the 2007–08 season, following injuries to Ryan Stoa and Mike Howe, Wheeler was named an alternate captain for the Golden Gophers and recorded 35 points in 44 games. At the end of the season, four years after he was drafted, Wheeler had yet to come to a contract agreement with the Coyotes. Given the option, Wheeler elected to become an unrestricted free agent despite a maximum entry-level contract offer from the club.
After the Phoenix Coyotes were not able to come to terms with Wheeler, on July 1, 2008, Wheeler signed an entry-level contract with the Boston Bruins. On October 7, the Bruins made their final cuts for the 2008–09 season and Wheeler remained with the NHL club. Two days later, on October 9, Wheeler scored his first NHL goal, in his NHL debut, against goaltender Peter Budaj of the Colorado Avalanche. Wheeler then collected his first NHL hat trick the next month on November 6, against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Being named to the 2009 NHL YoungStars Game to represent the rookies, he earned Game MVP honors after a four-goal effort to beat the sophomores 9–5. After being hit by a puck in practice during the 2009 pre-season, Blake added a visor to his helmet.
Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets
On February 18, 2011, Wheeler, along with Mark Stuart, was traded by Boston to the Atlanta Thrashers for Boris Valábik and Rich Peverley. On July 18, 2011, Wheeler signed a two-year, $5.1 million deal after the Thrashers were relocated and renamed the Winnipeg Jets. In the inaugural 2011–12 season with the Jets, he led the team in scoring with a career-high 64 points in 80 games. With the 2012–13 season delayed due to the Lockout and in order to keep game shape, Wheeler signed in Europe with EHC München of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) in Germany on October 28, 2012.
In July 2013, Wheeler avoided arbitration by signing a contract for six years, $33.6 million, which carries an annual cap hit of $5.6 million per season. He is now the third-highest paid Jets player behind defencemen Tobias Enström and Dustin Byfuglien, and he is signed through to the 2018–19 season.
Regular season and playoffs
|2004–05||Green Bay Gamblers||USHL||58||19||28||47||43||—||—||—||—||—|
|2005–06||University of Minnesota||WCHA||39||9||14||23||41||—||—||—||—||—|
|2006–07||University of Minnesota||WCHA||44||18||20||38||42||—||—||—||—||—|
|2007–08||University of Minnesota||WCHA||44||15||20||35||72||—||—||—||—||—|
Awards and honors
|WCHA All-Tournament Team||2007|||
|All-WCHA Third Team||2007–08|
|NHL YoungStars Game||2009|
|NHL YoungStars MVP||2009|
- "WCHA Final Five: Gophers Win, Wheeler Hat Trick". WCCO-TV. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-07-29.
- "Wheeler's 2007 Final Five game winning goal". YouTube. 2007-04-05. Retrieved 2007-04-05.
- "Blake Wheeler Goal Makes ESPN's Top 10 Plays". GopherSports.com. Retrieved 2007-07-29.[dead link]
- "Gophers Defeat N.D. In OT, 3-2". WCCO-TV. Archived from the original on 2007-03-21. Retrieved 2007-07-29.
- "Former Coyotes draft pick Blake Wheeler elects for free agency". NHL.com. Archived from the original on May 16, 2010. Retrieved 2008-05-29.
- "Boston Bruins Sign Forward Blake Wheeler". NHL.com. Archived from the original on April 29, 2010. Retrieved 2008-07-01.
- "Game Boxscore: Boston @ Colorado - 10/09/2008". NHL.com. 2008-10-09. Retrieved 2008-11-06.
- "Game Boxscore: Toronto @ Boston - 11/06/2008". NHL.com. 2008-11-06. Retrieved 2008-11-06.
- "Bruins' Blake Wheeler MVP of YoungStars Game". Boston Globe. 2009-01-25. Retrieved 2009-01-26.
- Shinzawa, Fluto (2009-09-29). "They could be fully loaded". The Boston Globe.
- "Red Bull commit to NHL star Blake Wheeler" (in German). EHC München. 2012-10-28. Retrieved 2012-10-28.
- "Blake Wheeler signs 6-year $33.6MM deal to remain with the Winnipeg Jets". articicehockey.com. 2013-07-26. Retrieved 2013-07-26.
- "WCHA Tourney History". WCHA. Retrieved 2014-06-26.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Blake Wheeler.|
- Blake Wheeler's career statistics at The Internet Hockey Database
- Blake Wheeler's career statistics at EliteProspects.com
- Blake Wheeler's player profile at NHL.com
|Awards and achievements|
|WCHA Most Valuable Player in Tournament
|Phoenix Coyotes first round draft pick