The Winnipeg Jets have announced a press conference to take place at 1pm EST, according to a tweet from Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun, where it is expected they will name F Blake Wheeler as the team’s next captain. The Jets dealt former team captain Andrew Ladd to the Chicago Blackhawks at last year’s trade deadline and played the rest of the campaign without naming a replacement. Wheeler, along with D Mark Stuart, were both assistants with the club last season.
Wheeler has spent five-plus seasons as a member of the Winnipeg/Atlanta franchise following a 2011 trade deadline deal with Boston. The speedy forward has been a consistent point-producer since joining the franchise, tallying a total of 123 goals and 207 assists in 394 games. Over the last three seasons, Wheeler has scored 26, 26 and 28 goals, respectively.
Wheeler was originally the fifth overall selection in the 2004 entry draft, chosen by the then Phoenix Coyotes. After playing three seasons at the University of Minnesota, Wheeler turned pro and exercised his right to become a free agent should he not agree to terms by July 1, 2008. Ultimately, a deal could not be reached with the Coyotes and Boston was able to swoop in and secure Wheeler’s services. At that time, the rules governing college free agents were quite different than they are today.