Speed, leadership, and work ethic. Those are just four words that come to the mind of Winnipeg Jets fans when they think of forward Blake Wheeler
He showed plenty of that on the ice in the 2015-2016 season, even though the team didn’t achieve its goal of reaching the post season. Wheeler said many times as the number of regular season games dwindled that there would be time for reflection on his personal stats.
Perhaps this can be that time.
The 29-year-old Wheeler finished sixth in the NHL in points with 78 (a new career-high), and fifth in the league in assists with 52.
His 26 goals tie last year’s mark, which is just two behind his career-high of 28 set in 2013-2014.
Those aren’t all the accomplishments Wheeler had either. He’ll also represent the USA in the World Cup of Hockey this September, along with teammate Dustin Byfuglien.
“Anytime you get the opportunity to represent the United States it’s a huge honour. It’s going to be a really exciting tournament,” said Wheeler. “It’s the first time in a while they’ve hosted a World Cup, and certainly where it’s hosted is going to add to the excitement. I’m looking forward to it.”
Wheeler previously represented the USA at the IIHF World Championship in 2011, as well as at the Olympics in Sochi in 2014.
Looking ahead to next season, Wheeler wants to build on the chemistry he had with linemates Mark Scheifele and Nikolaj Ehlers. The trio was an offensive threat each time they stepped on the ice, with Wheeler ending the season on an eight-game point streak, scoring five goals and 13 points in that span.
“Those guys are a lot of fun to play with. They bring a new dimension for me to the game,” said Wheeler. “So I think there’s a lot to look forward to in that aspect.”