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Pilot's Logbook: Blake Wheeler

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Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Every team in the NHL wants a Blake Wheeler. He has proven that he can flat out play with the best of the best. He was recognized as a world class player at the 2014 Winter Olympics when he was named to team USA, but despite that, Wheeler continues to fly under the radar around the league.

Wheeler had a big season in which his leadership was on full display. Many consider him to have been the Jets' Most Valuable Player. Why? Lets take in to account the numbers for a second.

Wheeler's 61 points fell one point shy of the team lead. He lead the team in goals with 26 and tied for the lead in game winning goals with 6. Not bad. Wheeler is know for his offense, but he is not given enough credit for the physical side of his game. He may not make the big hits that you see on the highlight reel, but he is not afraid to lay the body and he plays on an edge. He's not afraid to get involved after the whistle and he will be the first one to go stand up for his teammates.

The numbers line up with those of Wheeler's most common linemates. They show a player who scores like a first liner, but he has issues defending. In the past, this has resulted in unimpressive possession stats. That story changed this year.  Wheeler showed flashes of improved defensive play - even if it didn't show up in the numbers.

That said, he was a key cog in a horrible series of defensive breakdowns in the Jets' playoff run.

The Future

Blake's future with the team is not in question.

"There’s a standard that everyone needs to live up to," said Blake Wheeler. "We’re professionals, we make a lot of money. And we’re expected to uphold a certain standard. That’s the code we live by. That’s just the way it is."

"If you don’t like it then there’s other places to go. This is the way we do things."

You need this kind of stuff coming from your leaders. Wheeler didn't just sweep the subject under the rug,  he addressed it and basically said " you can't do that ", and good for him for saying it.

Blake Wheeler is going to continue to be front and centre for the Winnipeg Jets for the years to come. Wheeler has four years remaining on his contract and it seems as though he will be an integral part of the team's plans for the next little while.

He also seems to like being a Winnipeg Jet..