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Winnipeg signs Wheeler, six others; avoids arbitration

Monday, 07.18.2011 / 7:25 PM / NHL Free Agency 2011

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Winnipeg signs Wheeler, six others; avoids arbitration
The Winnipeg Jets have agreed to terms with right wing Blake Wheeler on a new contract. As per club policy, terms of the agreement are not disclosed.
The Winnipeg Jets are pleased to announce today that they have agreed to terms with right wing Blake Wheeler on a new two-year contract, avoiding an arbitration hearing slated for early next month. The club also announced the signing of six other restricted Free agents on Monday.

Brett Festerling, Riley Holzapfel, Arturs Kulda, Spencer Machacek, Ben Maxwell and Kenndal McArdle all agreed to terms with the club on Monday. Contract details were not released.

Wheeler, 24, was also a restricted free agent. He was obtained by the Atlanta Thrashers near the trade deadline in the deal that sent Rich Peverley to the Boston Bruins. He made 23 appearances with the Thrashers, scoring 17 points. With Boston this past season, the speedy winger scored 27 points in 58 games.

The Minnesota native has 127 points in 244 games with Boston and Atlanta. Originally, Wheeler was selected No. 5 by the Phoenix Coyotes in the 2004 Entry Draft.

Feasterling, 25, also joined the Thrashers near the trade deadline, arriving from Montreal. He has 83 NHL appearances, all with the Anaheim Ducks on his resume. The Prince George, B.C. native, has 8 points and 33 penalty minutes. The defenseman has also played in 189 AHL games, recording 42 points and 178 penalty minutes.
 
Holzapfel has spent the past three seasons with Atlanta's minor-league affiliate in Chicago, scoring 82 points in 201 AHL games.

Kulda, 22, appeared in a pair of games for the Atlanta Thrashers this past season without registering a point. Overall, he has six NHL appearances and 2 assists to his credit. In the AHL this past season, with Chicago, Kulda had 17 points and 73 penalty minutes in 69 games.

Machacek, also 22, played in 10 games with Atlanta during the 2010-11 season and previously played in two games with the Thrashers during 2008-09. In 12 career NHL games, the right winger has recorded no points or penalty minutes. He has spent the past three seasons with the Chicago Wolves. Last season, he appeared in 67 games for the Wolves, scoring 53 points
Maxwell, 23, appeared in 12 games for the Atlanta Thrashers this past season, recording 2 points and 2 penalty minutes. Maxwell, a center, joined Thrashers organization near the trade deadline in a deal that senT BRent Sopel and Nigel Dawes to Montreal. Maxwell has played in 32 NHL games for Atlanta and Montreal totaling 2 points.

McArdle, 24, made 11 appearances with Florida this past season, recording no points and 16 penalty minutes. In his NHL career, the Toronto native has played in 33 games for Florida totaling 3 points and 47 penalty minutes. McArdle was originally drafted by the Florida Panthers in the first round, No. 20, in the 2005 Entry Draft.
Quote of the Day

I think I'm lucky to be here and you definitely don't take very many things for granted, if you take anything for granted. I definitely put my family and my wife and my close family in perspective, that they're the most important thing in the world. I want to do whatever I can to play hockey, but like I said, under the right circumstances.

— Stars forward Rich Peverley to "The Musers" radio show on The Ticket 1310 AM in Dallas