The Winnipeg Jets are off to a surprising 3-2-1 start this season, and the scoring of Blake Wheeler has helped them get to that point. Wheeler has three goals and three assists this season, with one being the game-winner against the Washington Capitals.
Playing on a line with Olli Jokinen and young star Evander Kane has been great so far for the former Boston Bruins winger. Wheeler scored 21 goals in 2008-09 as an NHL rookie, but hasn’t quite matched that production in the seasons that have followed. He was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers the same year the Bruins would go on to win the Stanley Cup, and followed the team’s move to Winnipeg the following season. He’s always been good for 30 or more points a season, and his hot start is great news for a not-so-deep Jets team this season.
During the lockout, Wheeler joined Munich EHC in Germany’s DEL, and had six goals and 20 points in 15 games. Staying active and competitive clearly helped him gain an edge heading into this short season. In his NHL career, he has only missed a few games – a fact that bodes well in an injury-filled short season. Coach Claude Noel seems to have found a great top-line combination this season, and if Wheeler can keep up his hot start, it should boost the play of Kane and Jokinen as well. In a 4-3 loss to the Montreal Canadiens Tuesday night, it was Wheeler getting the team’s first goal on the power play. Jokinen and Nik Antropov also scored, but it was not enough to get the Jets the win. Next up is a Thursday night matchup with the struggling Florida Panthers.