It's Official: Blake Wheeler Bids Heartfelt Farewell to Winnipeg Jets

It's the end of an era in Winnipeg. Unable to find any takers on the trade market, the Winnipeg Jets will now have to move on from former captain and longtime face of the team Blake Wheeler, and bite the bullet, processing his buyout. 

After 12 years in Winnipeg, the 36-year-old Wheeler will be on waivers today, but once he clears and hits free agency, there will be plenty of teams poking around with interest. We already suggested one Eastern Conference team that should have some interest, and last week we had a look at three other potential destinations, though none of those teams were interested in a trade.

NHL Insider Darren Dreger also suggests that the Dallas Stars will have interest in signing Wheeler. 

The buyout will have a cap hit of $2.75M in each of the next two years. This will avoid the $8.25M cap hit that would have been in effect if he had stayed on this coming season.

Wheeler sent out a heartfelt goodbye message to Jets fans after learning of his fate:

"Just wanted to thank everyone for all the love and support these last 12 years. It was absolute honor and privilege to represent this city and this organization...

Winnipeg is always going to be a home for us... And we look forward to rooting on the Jets in the future."

Wheeler finished this past season with 55 points in 72 games, playing just over 17 minutes per contest. He was the Jets' captain from 2016 through 2022. 

 Photo: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports