Winnipeg Jets sign Blake Wheeler to five-year extension

Yahoo Canada Sports

The Winnipeg Jets have locked up their captain to a long-term deal, inking Blake Wheeler to a five-year extension worth $41.25 million.

The contract, which carries a $8.25 million AAV, will keep Wheeler in Winnipeg until the 2023-24 season. Wheeler has one year left on his current deal that carries a cap hit of $5.6 million.

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Wheeler, who turned 32 on Aug. 31, led the Jets in scoring last season with 91 points and tied for the league lead with 68 assists.

It’s a tidy bit of business for the Jets. They locked up the heart and soul of the team to a fair-value contract without giving the max term, giving the Jets as good a chance as any at lifting the Cup in the next five years.

But it’s not entirely without risk. Wheeler is at the age where players are typically in decline, although he has been remarkably healthy for a player who doesn’t shy away from the physical side of things, having missed only four games over the last five seasons.

Blake Wheeler led the Jets in scoring last season. (Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)
Blake Wheeler led the Jets in scoring last season. (Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Jets also have a lot of mouths to feed in the coming years. Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor and Jacob Trouba all need new deals next year, with Tyler Myers a pending UFA and Josh Morrissey set for a raise before the season begins. As it stands now, the Jets only have 11 players under contract for next season with a projected cap space of $27M to spread out over 12 players, including the big names listed above.

Some tough decision are coming for GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, but that’s the price you pay as an elite team — and a problem most teams would gladly take on.

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