Blake Wheeler has been named the captain of the Winnipeg Jets, the team announced through their website Wednesday. The 30-year-old Wheeler has played with the Jets since the 2010-11 season after being traded to the then-Atlanta Thrashers franchise from the Boston Bruins at the trade deadline. Dustin Byfuglien and Mark Scheifele were named the alternate captains.
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) August 31, 2016
Wheeler has consistently been one of the more underrated players in the entire NHL throughout his career despite posting tremendous point totals year in and year out. In 82 games last season, Wheeler scored 26 goals and a career-high 78 points in 82 games; par for the course given his 28 and 26 goal, 60-plus point campaigns in each of the previous two seasons. On top of what Wheeler brings to the team offensively, he’s a proven leader in the locker room and has consistently been an all-purpose player on the Jets roster throughout his career.
The Jets were in need of a new captain after trading away Andrew Ladd to the Chicago Blackhawks at the trade deadline last season. Ladd went on to sign a seven-year deal with the New York Islanders this offseason. With a long-time veteran in Wheeler set to take over the reigns in Winnipeg, the Jets are officially turning the page on the Ladd-era. Wheeler still has three years left on his current contract that will pay him $5.6 million per season.