There have been rumors all offseason about big potential trades the Winnipeg Jets could make to change the dynamic of the team, and yet now with a few weeks to go before the season begins, not much has changed.
Today, however, the team did announce some interesting news regarding their leadership group. Blake Wheeler will no longer wear the captain’s “C” – in fact, no one will. New head coach Rick Bowness released the following:
It is the determination of the coaching staff that we will enter the 2022-23 season without a specific captain but rather a group of assistants still to be determined. It is our goal to expand the leadership base within our hockey team. We have high expectations for our core players and we want to provide them with the opportunity to step into those greater leadership roles as a group.
Bowness and Wheeler will meet with the media together later this afternoon to discuss the situation.
The core of the Jets has remained intact over the offseason, with Wheeler, Mark Scheifele, Kyle Connor, Nikolaj Ehlers, Connor Hellebuyck, and Josh Morrissey still the group that drives the team, making at least $6MM each and signed through 2023-24 (at least). Pierre-Luc Dubois, as important a player on the ice as any other, has been surrounded by rumor since he made it clear that a long-term extension wasn’t on the table. Dubois is signed through this season and is an arbitration-eligible RFA in 2023 but could reach the open market the following summer.
Wheeler, Schiefele, and Hellebuyck are all scheduled for UFA status in 2024.