Breaking: Jets lock up a HUGE piece of their core

That’s a steep price, but… I guess you gotta pay up.

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According to multiple online reports, the Winnipeg Jets have locked up captain Blake Wheeler to a five year, $41.25 million contract that comes with an $8.25 million annual cap hit.

TSN’s Darren Dreger was the first to break the news:

Sounds like a big signing about to be announced in Wpg.  Blake Wheeler agrees to 5yr,  $41.25 mil extension.  AAV $8.25 million.

Sportsnet’s John Shannon was also on the ball, confirming Dreger’s report:

5 Years. 8.25 million per year is the cap hit.

Ouch… that’s a steep price to pay for a 32 year old. Not only in dollars, but in term as well. The thing is, Wheeler is an outstanding leader on and off the ice with the Jets and he put together an incredible season worthy of Hart Trophy consideration in 2017-18. There’s no reason to believe that his level of play will drop off anytime soon. Still, with contract extensions on the horizon for youngsters Patrik Laine and Jacob Trouba, the Wheeler deal, along with the Dustin Byfuglien deal, could prove to make things difficult for Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff down the road.

UPDATE: The Jets have now officially confirmed the news. Read below for their official press release announcement.

*WINNIPEG*- The Winnipeg Jets announced today they have signed captain Blake Wheeler to a five-year contract extension worth $41.25 million, with an average annual value of $8.25 million.
Wheeler, 33, is coming off the best campaign of his 10-year NHL career. He paced the Jets with 91 points (23G, 68A) last season and was tied for the NHL lead in assists with 68, including a league best 48 primary assists. The native of Plymouth, Minn. established career highs for points and assists in a season and reached at least 20 goals for the fifth consecutive season and sixth time in his career. Wheeler represented the Jets at the 2018 NHL All-Star Game in January, which was his first NHL All-Star Game Appearance. Other accolades for Wheeler include being named the NHL’s First Star of Week for the week ending Dec. 3/18, as he had 10 points (2G, 8A) in four games. In the Stanley Cup playoffs, Wheeler was fifth in post-season scoring with 21 points (3G, 18A) in 17 games in leading the Jets to the Western Conference Final for the first time in franchise history. His 18 assists were second overall in playoff scoring despite only playing in 17 games. After the season, he was a finalist for the Mark Messier Leadership Award, which is presented to the NHL player that exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team on and off the ice during the regular season and who plays a leading role in his community growing the game of hockey.
Wheeler was named the Jets captain on August 31, 2016 and has played eight of his 10 seasons with the Jets organization. He is one of three players still with the organization since it relocated to Winnipeg in 2011 and is already the franchise leader in assists with 383, while sitting second on the all-time Jets franchise scoring list with 495 points in 754 games. In fact, he ranks in the top 10 in every major scoring category in franchise history. Overall, Wheeler has 605 points (222G, 383A) in 778 career games with Boston, Atlanta, and Winnipeg.