December 10, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has methodically worked his way through his list of 2013 free agents, and now after Friday night's events that led to the signing of right-winger Blake Wheeler, he's got just one assignment left.
Wheeler and the Jets agreed to a new deal for the 26-year-old Minnesotan Friday night, giving the first-line forward a $33.6-million contract over six years.
Wheeler's cap hit will go from $2.55 million on his last contract, which was a two-year deal, to $5.6 million for the next six years.
Wheeler and Cheveldayoff were both unavailable for comment Friday night.
The Jets had nine "regulars" who were restricted free agents at the end of the regular season.
Alex Burmistrov bolted for Russia and the KHL, and the team doesn't sound like it's pursuing defenceman Arturs Kulda.
Meanwhile, Cheveldayoff has signed six others and now has just defenceman Zach Bogosian left on his plate.
Bogosian has also filed for salary arbitration. That hearing is scheduled for next Friday.
Wheeler proved his worth in the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign, leading the Jets in goals with 19. He had 41 points in all in the 48-game year.
When the franchise moved to Winnipeg and began play in late 2011, Wheeler had a painfully slow start to the year but rallied and finished with 17 goals and 64 points as one of the team's most consistent players.
In his five-year NHL career after originally being a first-round pick of the Phoenix Coyotes in 2004, Wheeler has scored 93 goals and 232 points in 372 games.
Friday's transaction gives the Jets a stable core of players going forward.
Cheveldayoff now has 10 regulars -- if you count anticipated 2013-14 rookies Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba -- under contract at least through the end of 2015-16.
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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 27, 2013 C4