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Season Recap: Blake Wheeler

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How did Blake Wheeler bounce back from a slow start at even strength?

St Louis Blues v Winnipeg Jets - Game Two Photo by Jason Halstead/Getty Images

Blake Wheeler’s season might be the scariest season of a Winnipeg Jets player. Wheeler started the season off incredibly slow at even strength and it was not just his scoring that was suffering, but his possession numbers. Although his numbers did start to turn around, Wheeler is entering the upcoming season with a massive new contract. His recent struggles should make fans pause and hope he turns it around.

The other concern about Wheeler is one that is completely out of his control: Paul Maurice has him married to Mark Scheifele and refuses to play him on another line. While it is good to allow players to develop chemistry, when a player is struggling as much as Wheeler was, it would be prudent to take him off the line for more than four periods.

Player Season Team Position GP TOI G A P P1 P/60 P1/60 GS GS/60 CF CA C+/- CF% Rel CF%
BLAKE.WHEELER 2018-2019 WPG R 82 1208.53 13 27 40 31 1.99 1.54 38.38 1.91 1148 1189 -41 49.12 0.26

As you can see, Wheeler actually finished the season with a respectable Corsi For and Corsi Rel. He also had 40 even strength points and only 31 on special teams. This is much better than what his early season was looking like. Credit to Wheeler for turning his game around at even strength. Outside of that, he also started looking better about halfway through the season. I do not know if there was a lingering injury for Wheeler at the beginning of the season, but he certainly looked better later on.

The problem with Blake Wheeler is not that he is a bad player; he is a very good player who was able to turn his season around. No, the problem with Wheeler is his new contract which kicks in on July first is too rich for his current skill-set. That could become a problem for the Jets later on and that is not his fault at all.