September 5, 2018 / 12:41 AM / 22 days ago

NHL notebook: Jets, Wheeler ink five-year extension

The Winnipeg Jets signed captain Blake Wheeler to a five-year, $41.25 million contract extension on Tuesday, the team announced.

Apr 9, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Winnipeg Jets right wing Blake Wheeler (26) skates down the ice during a shootout against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center. The Winnipeg Jets won 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports / Reuters

The deal, which begins next season and runs through 2023-24, will carry an average annual value of $8.25 million.

Wheeler, 32, was set to become an unrestricted free agent after this season following the conclusion of his six-year, $33.65 million contract he signed in July 2013.

Wheeler has been the Jets’ captain since the 2016-17 season. The right wing led the Jets with 91 points last season, and his 68 assists tied Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux for the league lead. Wheeler added 21 points (three goals, 18 assists) in the Stanley Cup playoffs, where the Jets were eliminated by the Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference finals.

Jun 12, 2018; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin holds the Stanley Cup as the bus passes the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture and the Washington Monument during the Stanley Cup championship parade and celebration. Mandatory Credit: Alex Brandon/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports

—The NHL prefers that the Stanley Cup not be used for keg stands in the future, after Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals made extensive use of the maneuver while celebrating their title this offseason.

“We ask them politely not to do it,” Philip Pritchard, who maintains the Cup, told the Washington Post. “We’re trying to preserve the history of the Stanley Cup. We don’t want any unnecessary damage to it or a person, in case they drop the person or he presses too hard or something.”

Pritchard told the Post a firm decision will be made about outlawing keg stands on the Cup later this month or early next month.

—The New York Rangers will retire Vic Hadfield’s No. 11 during a pregame ceremony ahead of their game against the Winnipeg Jets at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 2.

The team had revealed during a ceremony honoring Jean Ratelle in February that it would be retiring Hadfield’s number. Hadfield and Ratelle, along with Rod Gilbert, formed the “Goal-A-Game” line, becoming the first linemates to score at least 40 goals in the same season in NHL history in 1971-72.

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Hadfield, who will be the 10th player to have his number retired by the Rangers, was the first player in team history to score 50 goals in a season when he did so in ‘71-72. He played 13 seasons with the Rangers, totaling 572 points (262 goals, 310 assists) in 841 games.

—Defensemen Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug are among several Boston Bruins players who won’t make the trip for the team’s exhibition games against the Calgary Flames in China later this month.

Krug is still recovering from a broken ankle sustained in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, while Chara, 41, will sit out the trip to preserve his body.

Also not making the trip for the Bruins is center Patrice Bergeron, who had groin surgery in June. Forwards Noel Acciari (offseason sports hernia surgery), Anders Bjork (left shoulder surgery in February) will also stay back as they recover from injuries.

—Field Level Media

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