Well reader it’s time to admit something to you. It’s a deep dark secret that I have been withholding for a long time. I have to admit ..wait for it... I don’t know everything about hockey. What brought on this startling admission you may ask. It’s pretty simple actually; someone asked me what I thought of Blake Wheeler.
Now obviously I have heard the name thrown around and I have even caught a couple of highlight reels with him scoring, but really I didn’t know much about him. He plays in the east and I’ve never really had a reason to look at him closely. I had to answer my inquisitor with a blank stare and shrugged shoulders. So what am I to do if I want to deliver the very best hockey commentary possible? Why assemble a panel of course! Look out Hockey News and TSN!
Without any further delay let me introduce to you the Hard Six hockey panel:
Bruisnfan: The name says it all. He’s a hardcore east coast fan that is almost as infamous as I am. Don’t even mention the Habs; it’ll just set him off.
Jetsconnection: A Jets fan, that had followed the ROTJ, and had Moose season tickets before converting them to P4’s for the Jets. Anything but a homer though, he’ll give you the straight dope.
TheExpert: Raised in Winnipeg, living on the west coast. This hockey fan knows every stat, and follows every prospect. He’s religious about his hockey pools and even manages to win a couple. He’s back in the Jets fold and ready to enlighten us.
NucksFan: Played bantam hockey on the west coast as an enforcer and now follows the Orcas religiously. While the pretend fans where setting cars on fire he was brainstorming ways to trade Luongo.
So the question to the panel is: In light of the recent signing by the Winnipeg Jets What do you think of Blake Wheeler?
Bruinsfan: “As a Bruins Fan I’m not a fan of Wheeler. Very talented and very big but doesn’t use either of those assets. He also seems to have a lack of drive. He’s very tempting. Big body, tremendous skill, but doesn’t seem to care sometimes. It’s not a bad idea to take a chance on wheeler for the jets but the locker room can’t depend on him. You get what you get with him.”
Jetsconnection: “Wheeler signing (and the over the top reaction it's getting from some people) reminds me of a signing like Darren Turcotte back in the day. Serviceable player, but probably destined to be a journeyman. Rumblings of not being the best guy in the room, but he comes relatively cheap. Perhaps he can get us 20/50. Not someone who I'd build a team around, but we can't have a team full of Rypiens either.”
The Expert: “From what I've seen he is a fast big guy with some finishing ability (18 goals in 2 of his 3 years in the show). He could turn into a Taylor Pyatt and not be much more that a 3rd liner and a very good one if he is physical enough, or at best a solid 2nd liner that pots 20 to 30. He is still a little of an unknown as it’s unclear where he is ultimately going to end up. His $2.5M salary is steep but it’s only a 2 year deal at which time he either gets a raise if he's a second liner or less if he is a third liner.”
NucksFan: [Author]: Um, well Nucks Fan was in Vegas at the time this was being written. I called early in the morning and got this response: “ Huh? What are you talking about? ....Why is there a donkey in my room? ...Who the hell are you and why are you lying next to me.....” and then the phone went dead. Hopefully he will be available for our next go round.
So there you have it faithful reader, the consensus seems to be he’s ok but he’s not all that. There are also grumblings that he could be poisonous in the room. In my opinion 2.5 over two is well worth the risk, especially with his potential. My gut says he will be a player that will either thrive or dive under his new found spot light. As a special note to all the capologists out there this officially puts the Jets at the cap floor with 14 mil left in the kitty.
Wheeler was an RFA many people wanted to see get done quickly, before arbitration came a calling. Well sports fans you got your wish, and there is only one more domino to fall, Bogosian. But that’s a topic for another day.