Heading into the arbitration process, it’s safe to assume most Bruins fans had no clue what to expect when it came to forward Blake Wheeler.
Potential is what led to him being drafted fifth overall by the Phoenix Coyotes in 2004, and it’s what led to him being targeted so highly by the Bruins in their successful courting of the former-Minnesota Golden Gopher back in the summer of 2008. In fact, that same potential is what the Bruins brass feared could drive the 23-year old out of Boston on account of an unreasonable price-tag.
Factor in some questionable rulings throughout the arbitration process when glancing at Thrashers’ Clarke MacArthur‘s 2.4 million dollar award and the Bruins fanbase were by all means prepping for the loss of #26. However, the worries in the Hub were eased when the arbitrator’s (albeit late) ruling awarded the winger a one-year deal worth 2.2 million dollars.
Experiencing a seven-plus hour delay in receiving word on Wheeler due to the arbitration hearing on Blackhawks Stanley Cup hero goaltender Antti Niemi, the Bruins now find themselves within the 48-hour window to either accept the tender, trade Wheeler, or let him walk as an unrestricted free-agent.
Regardless of their famed cap-struggles, multiple media outlets have reported that the Boston Bruins are in fact expected to accept the award and keep Wheeler for another year.
Noted primarily for his struggles within the physical aspect of the game despite his large 6’5″ frame along with a hair-pulling inability to stay on-sides, Wheeler is coming off a season where he finished third on the club in goals (18) and fifth on the club in points with 38.
It’s become very clear that there’s somebody within the Bruins front-office that is enamored with Wheeler’s skill-set and for that reason alone, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone when Wheeler is re-signed and given one more chance in Boston in hopes that the third year once again proves to be the breakthrough for yet another Bruins player.
Say Hey In Under 140 Characters: Follow Ty on Twitter!
“I’ll Facebook You!”: Add the HockeyIndependent Facebook profile as a friend today!
Questions? Comments?: Send Ty your hate/love letters to TAndersonBruins@gmail.com
About the Author: Ty Anderson ran the Chronicles From The Garden blogspot account during the 2008-09 NHL season before joining HockeyIndependent as the Bruins Blogger. He is a Seinfeld enthusiast, self-admitted Star Wars nerd, Vezina-quality street-hockey goaltender, and can be found in Balcony 314 of every Bruins home game. Follow him and his tweeting madness on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/_TyAnderson or send him an e-mail at TAndersonBruins@gmail.com.