So many signs point to Blake Wheeler as the consensus choice as the next captain of the Winnipeg Jets.

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This article was published 2/3/2016 (2305 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

So many signs point to Blake Wheeler as the consensus choice as the next captain of the Winnipeg Jets.

Rather than swift action with such an announcement, the team has opted for a consultation as its process and the result may not be known until after the regular season is over.

GM Kevin Cheveldayoff and coach Paul Maurice are likely to find those discussions with their players lead to Wheeler — given the veteran winger’s ability to speak about hard issues, cut through fluff and strike what regularly seems to be the right tone for any occasion.

Could the decision land somewhere else?

That would be a surprise, but there’s a strong chance the larger result could include some representation from the team’s youth movement in its formal leadership group.

Among youngsters with evident leadership qualities you’ll find former Michigan captain Andrew Copp and maturing centre Adam Lowry, but better than that, defenceman Jacob Trouba and centre Mark Scheifele, though only third-year pros, would seem to be logical choices as candidates to wear a letter.

If the Jets continue to transition prospects from their draft-and-develop strategy — and there’s strong indication that will continue — they cannot have only players in the veteran category in their leadership group.

Only the team itself can say for sure if and when a younger player is ready to be in such a role, but words from Trouba, 22, and Scheifele, who will be 23 this month, have already started to sound like consideration is in the cards.

"I think with any player as they get older, they take on more responsibility," Trouba said this week. "That’s just how the league goes with every team, and how it kind of shifts. With guys going out, other guys step up.

"Mark and I want to, to take another step here and start building towards what we want to accomplish as a team."

Scheifele said days where the old-school mantra that rookies should be seen and not heard no longer applies to him or Trouba.

"I think we’ve had a little bit of a ‘say’ at least all year," Scheifele said. "Me and Jacob, we expect a lot out of ourselves and we expect to be leaders on this team. We try to do our part, if it’s leading on the ice or saying something, your opinion, in the room when we’re talking. I think we look at ourselves as leaders on this team already.

"So obviously with Laddy (former captain Andrew Ladd, traded last week to Chicago) being gone, we’ll try to take a bigger pride in it, knowing that a big part of our team, a big leader, isn’t there now.

"We have to do things by committee — each guy has to do a little more — and for me and Jacob, we have to try to be a big part of that."

Ladd’s absence creates an opening, not just for a letter, but for a revised method of input into and from the locker-room.

Trouba, the team’s 2012 first-round draft choice, said there’s no set formula for when younger players like himself determine it’s time to do or say things in this vein.

"I guess you don’t in a way," he said. "It’s a learning process. It’s new, obviously, especially for us younger guys. We lean on older guys and learn from them.

"Just learning from Laddy when he was here, well, he was a great captain and he’s been through a lot and been to some Stanley Cups and he’s a guy that knows what it takes. Having him around was very important for this team going forward."

Scheifele, too, said Ladd was an influential figure for younger players like he and Trouba and their exposure to him in the last three seasons has had great value.

"I think I’ve learned a lot from Laddy in that sense," Scheifele, the Jets’ No. 1 selection of the 2011 draft, said. "You see how he talks. You see how he acts and how professional he is. I definitely have learned a lot in that sense, when to speak up and when to not. And when to lend a helping hand and when to be a little hard on a guy. It’s something that’s just part of the learning curve."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca