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Jets Decide To Go With No Captain in 2022-23, Wheeler Stripped of Captaincy

September 17, 2022, 12:37 AM ET [12 Comments]
Jacob Billington
Winnipeg Jets Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Winnipeg Jets announced Friday that Blake Wheeler would no longer serve as captain, and that no captain will be named prior to the beginning of the season.

There have been a lot of players, media, and staff speaking out about the Winnipeg Jets leadership team. Most of the quotes we have seen come out in the media have been pretty negative towards the leadership team as a whole.

Last season, Blake Wheeler wore the C, while Mark Scheifele and Josh Morrissey wore the A's. Wheeler, who has been the teams captain since the 2016-17 season, says that he still plans on playing in Winnipeg, and is happy to do so. Now, that is what was said in the media, but I don't entirely believe this. There are very few instances that a player gets stripped of the captaincy, for whatever reason, and is happy to stay.

With 2 years remaining on his 5 year, $8.25m contract, Blake Wheeler could be traded this season, or next. He has a 5 team trade list, meaning he has submitted a list of 27 teams that the team would need special permission to engage in a trade with. Wheeler has registered 171 points in his last 186 games, spanning 3 seasons. That is still some elite production from the aging winger.

Given Wheeler's age, and his production, over the last 3 years, the most comparable players include David Perron,, Anze Kopitar, Joe Pavelski, and Claude Giroux.

In terms of measuring value, Anze Kopitar carrys a much more defensively responsible role with the LA Kings than Wheeler has in Winnipeg. David Perron was quite a surprise to me being up with these players in their production rates. He is fresh off of a deal in Detroit, and I think the comparison could be made, while Claude Giroux give a totally different skillset than anyone else on the list with his faceoff skills, as well as the definition of a leader.

I think Joe Pavelski may be the best comparison for Blake Wheeler. Their production is similar, their role is similar, and this comparison could spark a light in the eyes of Jets fans. Pavelski really benefitted from a change of scenery. Not that he was bad in San Jose, at all, but moving to Dallas certainly did good things for him. I definitely think this could be the case if the Jets trade Blake Wheeler.

Rick Bowness was a kind of out-of-nowhere hire for some, and many didn't know what to think about it. Bowness has now come in, and before the puck even hit the ice, he is making some of the right moves. Jets fans, former Jets players, and more, have been calling for a big change in this leadership team, and I think this is the right move.

Without a captain, an NHL team can have 3 players wear an A on their jerseys. Assuming Mark Scheifele, who has worn an A for the past 5 seasons, is also taken out of the group, I would expect to see Josh Morrissey, Kyle Connor, and Adam Lowry wear the A's this year, though I will give an honourable mention to Neal Pionk and Nikolaj Ehlers as well.

In some other news, the Jets rookie tournament started today, and I will be doing a piece after the tournament, looking at the standouts and disappointments, and all of those thinks.

Thank you for taking the time to read, let me know your thoughts on the decision by Bowness, and who you think will take hold of the A's!
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