Blake Wheeler was an unrestricted free agent for less than an hour. The former Winnipeg Captain agreed to a one year contract for $US 800K to become a New York Ranger just one day after being bought out by the Jets.
And Kevin Stenlund didn’t last long on the market either as the ex-Jets centre signed a one-year deal for $US 1M to join the Stanley Cup runner up Florida Panthers. Winnipeg did not tender a qualifying offer to Stenlund by Friday’s 4 p.m. CT deadline, making the 6-4 and 211 pound pivot an unrestricted free agent.
Because Wheeler is over the age of 35, his deal with the Rangers features a $US 300K in maximum potential performance bonuses.
Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff thanked Wheeler for his time in Winnipeg at a press conference on Saturday afternoon.
“He bet on us several times, and, you know, unfortunately, we got close, and just not close enough,” Cheveldayoff said.
“I’m happy that he, you know, found a good situation for himself today.”
Two other players with ties to Winnipeg also found new employment on Saturday. Although in the case of Trevor Lewis, it was a return to his original team when the veteran winger inked a 1 year $US 775K with the LA Kings. Lewis, who spent the 2020-21 pandemic shortened season with Winnipeg, played his first 13 full professional seasons in the Kings organization after being drafted 17th overall in 2006 by the Kings.
Riley Nash – a Winnipeg Jet for 15 games at the start of the 2021-22 season – signed with the NY Rangers for two years and an AAV of $US 775K. It should be noted, the second year of the contract is a two way deal.
Strathclair, Manitoba’s Morgan Geekie, who was not qualified by Seattle at the deadline on Friday – signed with Boston for two years at an average annual value of $US 2M.
And veteran goalie James Reimer of Morweena, MB is now a Detroit Red Wing after inking a 1 year deal for $US 1.5M.
— More to come…
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