The Bruins announced plans today to sign Blake Wheeler, a strapping forward from Minnesota and former Golden Gopher. Due to the upcoming draft, the contract cannot be finalized until July 1, but Wheeler's agent confirmed that his client does intend to don the black-and-gold this coming season. Whee!
Wheeler, much like Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, is a monster, standing 6'4" and weighing in at 220 pounds. Deceptively fast for such a large skater, Wheeler led the Gophers in scoring with 15 goals and 20 assists as a junior last season. He was initially drafted by the
Wheeler's finest moment as a collegiate athlete came last year in the final game of the Final Five tournament, when he slipped in the winning goal for a 3-2 overtime win against North Dakota. Watch how fast this kid moves:
Hot damn that's beautiful. I'm still not ready to drink any toasts to the Bruins' front office, but their commitment to developing young talent in recent years has been extremely refreshing (and is no doubt a big part of Wheeler's decision to sign with the Bruins). Along with playoffs standout David Krejci, defensive whiz kid Mark Stuart, and mega-badass Milan Lucic, Wheeler will join an impressive cadre of genuine All-Star talent just beginning to show its true potential. Although the transition from playing center on college ice to playing right-wing on NHL ice will no doubt be a tricky one, Wheeler's speed and high offensive IQ are sure to be immediate assets to the team.
The Bruins have yet to finish negotiations with either unrestricted free agent Glen Metropolit or restricted free agents Stuart, Dennis Wideman, and Petteri Nokelainen. Nokelainen is eh, but the other three (Metropolit in particular) were vital to the team's success this year and will hopefully stick around. Meanwhile, the Bruins look forward to their 16th-round pick in the draft in Ottawa this weekend... yippee!
Regardless of how that goes, the signing of Wheeler represents a big move for the Bruins, and I'm freaking psyched to see this kid in uniform. (Or, as per the following picture, out of uniform. Schwing!)