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Jets sign Wheeler to 5-year, $41-M contract

The Winnipeg Jets have locked up their captain, signing Blake Wheeler to a five-year contract extension Tuesday morning to remove any doubt about his playing future heading into this upcoming season.

Wheeler, 32, will be paid $41.25 million over the duration of the deal, for an annual average of $8.25 million. The right-winger from Plymouth, Minn., is entering the final year of his current contract, which pays him $5.6 million.

The new deal will make Wheeler the highest-paid player on the Jets — at least for now. Patrik Laine needs a new contract next year and the Finnish sniper could surpass it, given his penchant for putting pucks in the net.

Wheeler would have been an unrestricted free agent next summer and likely a hot commodity on the open market. He is coming off the most productive season of his career, with 23 goals and 68 assists over 81 regular-season games. He added three goals and 18 assists in 17 playoff games as the Jets made it to the Western Conference final.

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The Winnipeg Jets have locked up their captain, signing Blake Wheeler to a five-year contract extension Tuesday morning to remove any doubt about his playing future heading into this upcoming season.

Wheeler, 32, will be paid $41.25 million over the duration of the deal, for an annual average of $8.25 million. The right-winger from Plymouth, Minn., is entering the final year of his current contract, which pays him $5.6 million.

The new deal will make Wheeler the highest-paid player on the Jets — at least for now. Patrik Laine needs a new contract next year and the Finnish sniper could surpass it, given his penchant for putting pucks in the net.

Wheeler would have been an unrestricted free agent next summer and likely a hot commodity on the open market. He is coming off the most productive season of his career, with 23 goals and 68 assists over 81 regular-season games. He added three goals and 18 assists in 17 playoff games as the Jets made it to the Western Conference final.

Wheeler also showed off his extreme versatility, sliding to centre for a 16-game stretch after Mark Scheifele went down with injury. Wheeler and the team didn’t miss a beat, going 11-2-3 during that stretch.

The six-foot-five, 225-pound forward was named to his first NHL all-star game last year and garnered some mid-season Hart Trophy (league MVP) chatter.

Wheeler is skating this morning at the Bell MTS Iceplex and is expected to speak about his new deal around 11:40 a.m. Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff will also discuss the signing in a conference call at 1:30 p.m.

mike.mcintyre@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @mikemcintyrewpg

Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre
Reporter

Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.

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