As per a report first broken by Darren Dreger of TSN: “The Winnipeg Jets are processing Blake Wheeler’s buyout. He will be on waivers today. There will be a number of teams with interest in signing the veteran as a free agent, including the Dallas Stars.” Wheeler was the former captain of the team before being stripped of that honor and his final season in Winnipeg was a bit tumultuous as rumors of locker room issues plagued the team and the club stands to be removing a number of pieces this off-season in a major retool.
The team released a statement as they processed the buyout:
“We would like to thank Blake for his dedication and service to the Jets, the city of Winnipeg and the province of Manitoba,” said Jets General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff. “We are incredibly grateful for the contributions that he has made during his 12 seasons with the franchise. Most notably, the seven years when he served as the captain of the Jets and helped lead the team to the 2018 Western Conference Final.”
Wheeler himself said, “I want to thank everyone in Winnipeg for all the love and support over these past 12 years.” He added, “It has been my absolute honour and privilege to be a Winnipeg Jet and to represent this city and organization.”
The Jets have made a significant decision regarding their roster, as they have placed veteran forward Blake Wheeler on unconditional waivers with the intention of buying out the final year of his contract. This comes just days after the club made a blockbuster trade with the Los Angeles Kings to send Pierre-Luc Dubois to the Kings in a sign-and-trade deal. Wheeler’s buyout will extend over two years, with the following cap hits: $2.75 million for the 2023-2024 season and the same amount for the 2024-2025 season.
Wheeler Had Quite the Run With the Jets
At 36 years old, Wheeler leaves the Jets as a franchise legend, having set numerous records during his tenure. He holds the franchise records for regular season games played (897), points (812), assists (550), and shots (2,462). Additionally, his 262 goals rank as the third-highest in franchise history. Wheeler’s contributions extend to the postseason, where he holds the franchise records for playoff assists (30) and points (39), while tying with Adam Lowry for the most playoff games played (44).
Notably, Wheeler’s achievements include being named an NHL Second Team All-Star in the 2017-2018 season, leading the league in assists with 68 in 2017-2018, and setting a franchise record for assists in a season with 71 in 2018-2019. He also represented the Jets in the NHL All-Star Games in 2018 and 2019.
With the buyout of Blake Wheeler, the Jets bid farewell to the last remaining player from the original Atlanta Thrashers roster since the team relocated in 2011.
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