Blake Wheeler

Blake Wheeler

37-Year-Old Right WingRW
New York Rangers
Out
Injury Undisclosed
Est. Return 9/15/2024
2023 Fantasy Outlook
After playing with the Jets' franchise since the 2009-10 season, Wheeler's tenure with the team ended in an unceremonious buyout. It didn't take him long to find a new home, as he took a near-minimum deal with the Rangers on the first day of free agency. Entering his age-37 season, there are some obvious cracks in the foundation for Wheeler, but he remains a winger capable of taking on top-six minutes while holding his own defensively. He had 16 goals and 39 assists in 72 games last year while picking up 15 power-play points last season, and while his role is likely to be smaller on Broadway, he can still be an effective depth forward in fantasy this year. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a one-year, $800,000 contract with the Rangers in July of 2023.
Not practicing Saturday
RWNew York Rangers
Undisclosed
June 1, 2024
Wheeler (undisclosed) isn't taking part in the Rangers' morning skate ahead of Saturday's Game 6 matchup with the Panthers in the Eastern Conference Final, Vince Z. Mercogliano of USA Today reports.
ANALYSIS
According to a source, Wheeler is banged up, leaving his status unclear for Saturday's must-win contest. He has suited up in only one game since Feb. 15 because of a leg injury. Wheeler logged just 9:18 of ice time in Game 4 versus the Panthers on Tuesday before sitting out Thursday's Game 5. Anton Blidh has been filling in for Wheeler during Saturday's practice, but the 29-year-old Blidh probably won't be in the lineup even if Wheeler is unavailable.
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2023–24 Time On Ice Stats
  • Average Time On Ice:
    12:43
  • Average Power Play TOI:
    0:58
  • Average Short-Handed TOI:
    0:00
 
Ice Time
Power Play
Short-Handed
2021–22
19:32
3:11
0:18
2022–23
17:03
2:44
0:25
2023–24
12:43
0:58
0:00
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Rangers Power Play Depth Chart
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Latest Fantasy Rumors
Unsure about future
RWNew York Rangers
June 4, 2024
Wheeler hasn't decided yet if he will continue his playing career in the 2024-25 season, per Peter Baugh of The Athletic.
ANALYSIS
Wheeler was limited to just 54 regular-season games with the Rangers in 2023-24 because of a leg injury. He also made just one appearance during the playoffs. The 37-year-old forward has 321 goals and 943 points in 1,172 career contests.
See All NHL Rumors
Past Fantasy Outlooks
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Wheeler again threatened a point-per-game pace (60 points in 65 games) for the Jets in 2021-22, although he failed to reach the 20-goal mark (17) for the second straight year after a string of posting at least that many in the seven years prior. Wheeler also missed 17 games due to injury, and at age 36, doesn't seem like an especially good bet from a health perspective moving forward. That said, Wheeler is one of the league's better playmakers and his role on one of Winnipeg's top lines and top power-play unit is secure, so he should have no issues returning mid-round fantasy value if he can suit up on a consistent basis in 2022-23. Wheeler has a bit more value in league's which place additional emphasis on helpers as opposed to goals.
One stat stood out more than the rest for Wheeler in 2020-21 -- his career-worst minus-17 rating. It wasn't as if the Jets were a bad team, finishing third in the North Division with a somewhat top-heavy offense. The Minnesota native did his part on offense with 15 goals and 46 points in 50 games, including 15 power-play points, but he looked a step slower at 34 years old. That's not likely to concern fantasy managers too much as long as the veteran forward can still produce 60 to 70 points over a full season while maintaining a top-six role. That said, Wheeler has always played a heavier style, and he may need to be limited to the wing to avoid a sharp decline in scoring production if that tough mileage begins to catch up with him further after he lost six games to a concussion in April.
Over the past five seasons, Wheeler has missed just one game, a level of reliability that fantasy players are always looking for in their squads. Over that stretch, the power forward has reached the 90-point threshold twice. The shortened season this past year led to the 33-year-old world-class center registering his lowest point total since 2014-15, though he still managed to tally 20-plus goals for a seventh straight campaign. Perhaps it's related to their location in the Great White North, but the Jets seem to fly under the radar every draft season. Wheeler is no exception, but he shouldn't make it past the first few rounds of any redraft format given his offensive upside. The return of Paul Stastny should shore up Winnipeg's second-line center position which will allow Wheeler to retake his spot on the first line, reuniting him with the always dynamic Mark Scheifele.
There is perhaps no more underrated elite talent in the league right now than Wheeler. The dynamic winger has just one All-Star appearance and hasn't won any hardware, but is one of just four players to top the 90-point mark in each of the previous two seasons. In addition, the world-class veteran has hit the 20-goal threshold in six consecutive campaigns and has missed just one regular-season game in the past four years. It's a level of durability and productivity that is nearly unrivaled in the NHL right now. The emergence of Kyle Connor on the Jets' top line and Patrik Laine's growth with the man advantage will only serve to help keep the 32-year-old Wheeler at the top of his game. Fantasy owners shouldn't be surprised to see him pushing for 100 points in 2019-20.
Heading into the 2018-19 campaign, Wheeler's profile figures to be top of mind for most fantasy owners after he posted a career best 91 points last season (ninth best in the league) -- including 40 with the man advantage, which was second only to Pittsburgh's Phil Kessel. The all-star winger has registered 20-plus goals and 60-plus points in five consecutive seasons and has only missed six games over the course of his seven years in Winnipeg. Having always paired well with center Mark Scheifele on the top line, the 31-year-old Wheeler clearly benefited from having the speedy Kyle Connor on the other wing to help draw defenders away from him, opening up more time and space for the veteran to operate. While he will certainly faces tough competition, Wheeler has the skills and talent to put himself into the mix for the Art Ross Trophy.
Wheeler has missed just three regular-season contests since the inception of his 2013-14 campaign with the Jets -- something that can't be overlooked when evaluating his fantasy prospects. Last year, the 30-year-old registered an impressive 26 goals and 48 helpers while leading the team in power-play points with 21. Many of the league’s top defenders had fits trying to contain 2017 Calder Cup finalist Patrik Laine, and he’s likely to free up Wheeler to an even greater extent in the upcoming season. Winnipeg is a team on the rise, so owners considering Wheeler should no longer expect him to fly under the radar. Recording a third straight 70-plus-point campaign is certainly on the table, and eclipsing 80 wouldn't be too much of a stretch for 2004’s No. 5 overall pick.
Wheeler has clearly established himself as the winger to own on the Jets – and a potentially in the top five across the league – after erupting for a career-best campaign in 2015-16. He racked up 26 goals, 52 assists and a plus-8 rating – big numbers that thrilled his fantasy owners, who got a first-tier star's numbers for a second-tier star's price. He attacks on the man advantage with brutality – three tallies and 14 helpers – while also sealing contests with five game-winning markers. The bruising winger has stayed healthy for three straight seasons and is locked into the top line on an improving squad in Winnipeg. It may be too much to ask for him to approach a point per game again, but his fifth straight (non-lockout-shortened) 60-point season should be in the offing.
Wheeler posted his second consecutive 60-point season last year, and if not for the lockout, he'd probably be at four in a row by now. It took him a long time to live up to the talent level that made him 2004's No. 5 overall pick, but Wheeler's established himself as one of the Jets' most important players and should be in line for another big year on the first line with Bryan Little and Andrew Ladd, with his first 30-goal campaign a legitimate possibility. He's proven to be a durable, well-rounded fantasy contributor despite playing a fairly physical style, and there's no reason to think that won't continue throughout his late 20s.
Wheeler is fresh off his best statistical season as a pro and at age 27, he shouldn’t slow down anytime too soon. His 28 goals, 69 points and 63 PIM were all career-bests, and his plus-4 rating was also perfectly acceptable. He’s expected to line up next to Mark Scheifele and Evander Kane on the Jets' second line again this season, which should allow the trio once again benefit from the Jets’ top line assuming the toughest matchups night in and night out. Wheeler skated in all 82 games last season and all 48 the year before, so his durability shouldn’t be an issue when considering whether or not to draft him.
Wheeler managed an impressive 19 goals in just 48 games last year, two more than he managed in 80 games in the 2011-12 season. He's really come into his own as a leader and found some real chemistry with Andrew Ladd and Bryan Little on the team's top line, notching points in eight of the Jets' last nine games to finish the season, proving he could be counted on for a push to the playoffs. Though the team came up short of winning the Southeast Division, Wheeler should top 60+ points and set a new career-high in goals going into the 2013-14 season.
Winnipeg's leader in points last season with 64, Wheeler will be motivated to outdo himself in 2012-2013, the final year on his current contract. He led the team in assists with 47 and also chipped in a surprising 55 penalty minutes. Having missed only three games in his last seasons, consider "Wheels" among the most reliable sources of assists in most leagues after the premier set-up men have been snagged. He's shown great chemistry with Evander Kane and Bryan Little upon Winnipeg's top line.
Wheeler split last season between the Thrashers and Bruins and scored 18 goals and 26 assists for 44 points. In his three NHL seasons, Wheeler has missed a grand total of two games. He has offensive talent and is just on the verge of entering his prime production years. He'll play on the Jets' top two lines after scoring 17 points in 23 games with the team last year. All signs point to Wheeler topping his career highs, so he'll make a solid fantasy pick once the top guns in the draft have been selected.
Wheeler has combined for 39 goals through his first two NHL seasons since making the leap straight from college, including 18 last season. He's a big body (6-5, 205) who possesses some decent finesse for a player his size, but at times he's been criticized for being a perimeter player. If he can incorporate some more grit and added thump to his game, then Wheeler could see an uptick in production, but for now he's one of the Bruins' secondary offensive threats.
While being a healthy scratch for the B's last three playoff games last season may have may been a short-term hit to his confidence, Wheeler has a nice blend of size and skill and should at least match his rookie numbers (21 goals, 45 points) this coming season, with the potential for more production as he gets used to the lengthy grind of the NHL schedule.
Defenseman Matt Lashoff may be more polished and first-rounder Joe Colborne may have more long-term upside, but there figures to be an opportunity for Wheeler (drafted No. 5 overall in 2004) to contribute as the season rolls along. He has a nice combo of size and good hands, which if harnessed, could turn him into a solid NHL power forward to add to the B's stable of talent up front.
Wheeler is not expected to play with the Coyotes this season. Keeper/Dynasty league owners will have to wait another year (or two) to see this giant forward in the NHL.
More Fantasy News
Returns to lineup Tuesday
RWNew York Rangers
May 30, 2024
Wheeler was back in action for Game 4 against the Panthers on Tuesday, recording four hits, two blocks and two PIM in 9:18 of ice time.
ANALYSIS
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Lifted from LTIR
RWNew York Rangers
May 16, 2024
Wheeler (leg) was activated from long-term injured reserve Thursday, Mollie Walker of the New York Post reports.
ANALYSIS
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Cleared for contact
RWNew York Rangers
Leg
May 13, 2024
Wheeler (leg) has shed his non-contract jersey ahead of Game 5 against the Hurricanes on Monday, Dan Rosen of NHL.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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Done for regular season
RWNew York Rangers
Lower Body
February 16, 2024
Wheeler (lower body) will miss the remainder of the regular season, resulting in him being designated for long-term injured reserve, Peter Baugh of The Athletic reports Friday.
ANALYSIS
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Suffers lower-body injury
RWNew York Rangers
Lower Body
February 15, 2024
Wheeler sustained a lower-body injury during Thursday's game against Montreal and won't return to the contest.
ANALYSIS
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