How does one review Blake Wheeler? He is inexplicably tied to Paul Maurice in his play as Maurice is the one who has tied him to Mark Schiefele for years now. It is not Wheeler’s fault and he has performed admirably both on Scheifele’s wing and at centre. But Wheeler is not a centre, but he has had to play centre due to Kevin Cheveldayoff’s refusal to find an actual second line centre.
The other hard part of evaluating Wheeler is his contract. His contract is hefty and while it is much less of a problem now that Dustin Byfuglien is gone. And it is not necessarily the contract itself, but the fact that the Jets like most NHL teams value older players with experience more than they value younger players who are better at the moment.
Wheeler has been pretty consistent over the years and this year is no different. Outside of the drop off following the Jets season before their run, he has been a possession driving machine. Even now he is a positive possession player. However, he is being tasked with a lot still. He is inexplicably the second line centre for stretches. He could probably do more if asked to do less. He might not have to kill penalties as much as he does. He might be able to get more out of his game if he has to do less.
Wheeler is still a good player. He is not worth what he is paid and he is asked to do too much by the Jets. But this is the hand he has been dealt and he is making the best of it.