Blake Wheeler
Blake wheeler.jpg
Position Right wing
Shoots Right
Height
Weight
6 ft 5 in (0 m)
205 lb (93 kg)
NHL Team
F. Teams
Winnipeg Jets
Boston Bruins
Atlanta Thrashers
Born August 31 1986 (1986-08-31) (age 34),
Plymouth, MN, USA
NHL Draft 5th overall, 2004
Phoenix Coyotes
Pro Career 2008 – present

Blake James Wheeler (born August 31, 1986) is an American professional ice hockey right winger currently playing for the Winnipeg Jets of the National Hockey League (NHL). He was drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes in the first round, fifth overall, in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

Playing career[edit | edit source]

Early career[edit | edit source]

Wheeler attended Breck School his freshman year through his junior year. There, during his junior year, Wheeler had his breakout season, putting up a state-high 45 goals and 55 assists in 2003–04. He led his team to a Class A State Hockey Championship that season, and scored a hat trick in the final game.

Wheeler opted to forego his senior year to play in the United States Hockey League (USHL) with the Green Bay Gamblers. After playing one season with the Gamblers, Wheeler attended the University of Minnesota. In 2005–06, his freshman year with the Minnesota Golden Gophers, he recorded 23 points in 39 games, playing alongside future Boston Bruins teammate Phil Kessel. Wheeler is praised for his deceptive speed with his large body frame, and his ability to stick handle at such high speeds.

In the 2007 WCHA Final Five tournament, Wheeler recorded a hat trick in a 4–2 win in the semifinal game against the University of Wisconsin–Madison.[1] In the championship game, Wheeler scored the game winning goal in a 3–2 overtime win against the North Dakota Fighting Sioux. The play was featured on ESPN's SportsCenter and quickly gained notoriety for its similarity to the game-winning goal in the 1979 NCAA Championship Game, scored by Minnesota's Neal Broten, also against North Dakota.[2] Wheeler was named the tournament MVP.[3]

Early in the 2007–08 season, following injuries to Ryan Stoa and Mike Howe, Wheeler was named an alternate captain for the Golden Gophers and recorded 35 points in 44 games. At the end of the season, four years after he was drafted, Wheeler had yet to come to a contract agreement with the Coyotes. Given the option, Wheeler elected to become an unrestricted free agent despite a maximum entry-level contract offer from the club.[4]

Boston Bruins[edit | edit source]

On July 1, 2008, Wheeler signed an entry-level contract with the Boston Bruins.[5] On October 7, the Bruins made their final cuts for the 2008-09 season and Wheeler remained with the NHL club. Two days later, on October 9, Wheeler scored his first NHL goal, in his NHL debut, against goaltender Peter Budaj of the Colorado Avalanche.[6] Wheeler then collected his first NHL hat trick the next month on November 6, against the Toronto Maple Leafs.[7] Being named to the 2009 NHL YoungStars Game to represent the rookies, he earned Game MVP honors after a four-goal effort to beat the sophomores 9–5.[8]

After being hit by a puck in practice in the 2009 preseason Blake put a visor [9] on to his helmet as he wore in junior.

Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets[edit | edit source]

On February 18, 2011, Wheeler was traded by Boston to the Atlanta Thrashers along with Mark Stuart for Boris Valabik and Rich Peverley. On July 18, 2011, Wheeler signed a 2 year, $5.1 million dollar deal with the Jets.

Awards[edit | edit source]

  • Played in the NHL YoungStars Game in 2009.
  • Named NHL YoungStars MVP in 2009.
  • Named Tournament M.V.P of WCHA Final Five in 2007.

Career statistics[edit | edit source]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2004–05 Green Bay Gamblers USHL 58 19 28 47 43
2005–06 University of Minnesota NCAA 39 9 14 23 41
2006–07 University of Minnesota NCAA 44 18 20 38 42
2007–08 University of Minnesota NCAA 44 15 20 35 72
2008–09 Boston Bruins NHL 81 21 24 45 46 8 0 0 0 0
2009–10 Boston Bruins NHL 82 18 20 38 53 13 1 5 6 6
2010–11 Boston Bruins NHL 58 11 16 27 32
2010–11 Atlanta Thrashers NHL 23 7 10 17 14
NHL totals 244 57 70 127 145 21 1 5 6 6

References[edit | edit source]

  1. WCHA Final Five: Gophers Win, Wheeler Hat Trick. WCCO-TV. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved on 2007-07-29.
  2. Blake Wheeler Goal Makes ESPN's Top 10 Plays. GopherSports.com. Retrieved on 2007-07-29.
  3. Gophers Defeat N.D. In OT, 3-2. WCCO-TV. Archived from the original on 2007-03-21. Retrieved on 2007-07-29.
  4. Former Coyotes draft pick Blake Wheeler elects for free agency. NHL.com. Retrieved on 2008-05-29.
  5. Boston Bruins Sign Forward Blake Wheeler. NHL.com. Retrieved on 2008-07-01.
  6. Game Boxscore: Boston @ Colorado - 10/09/2008. NHL.com (2008-10-09). Retrieved on 2008-11-06.
  7. Game Boxscore: Toronto @ Boston - 11/06/2008. NHL.com (2008-109-09). Retrieved on 2008-11-06.
  8. Bruins' Blake Wheeler MVP of YoungStars Game. Boston Globe (2009-01-25). Retrieved on 2009-01-26.
  9. Shinzawa, Fluto. "They could be fully loaded", The Boston Globe, 2009-09-29. 

External links[edit | edit source]

Preceded by
Ben Eager
Phoenix Coyotes first round draft pick
2004
Succeeded by
Martin Hanzal


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