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May 30, 2008


I agree with you the Rangers should look into this guy, but the competition will be fierce for his services.....
But I don't really know too much about him maybe Jess can elaborate on him..
NHL.com said,
Thursday, May 29, 2008
GLENDALE, ARIZONA – Phoenix Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney announced today that Blake Wheeler, selected by the Coyotes in the 2004 Entry Draft, has rejected the Coyotes contract offer and will become an unrestricted free agent.“We offered Blake a contract which was both commensurate with his draft position and far exceeded any guaranteed contract he can receive, under the current CBA, with any other team. He has decided, however, that becoming a free agent is in his best interest,” said Maloney.
“We are very happy with the compensatory pick we will receive for Blake not signing, which will be the fifth pick in the second round. This is a very deep draft and we now have five picks in the first two rounds, which is very exciting.”
Wheeler’s agent informed Maloney of his decision to turn down the Coyotes contract offer and become a free agent on May 28.
Hockey futures said:
"Blake Wheeler, RW
1st round, 5th – 2004, 21, 6’4, 220
Looking solely at Wheeler’s stats this year does not tell the whole story of why his offensive production is down. Big holes were created on his team due to NHL signings and injuries dating back to last summer. The absence of top-end talent has taken its toll on the Univ. of Minnesota Golden Gophers. Wheeler has stepped up and has led the team in scoring for the majority of the season, with 32 points (15 goals, 17 assists) in 38 games. However, without a strong team offense and with scoring down in WCHA overall, Gophers numbers have been down across the board. Personally, Wheeler has continued to grow and mature physically and mentally. There are some concerns of consistency on the ice, however, when he is on, he can be one of the most dominating forwards in the WCHA and nation for that matter."

I had the pleasure of watching Blake Wheeler many times both in person at Univ of Denver and on telecasts of Minnesota games picked up in Colorado. When on, Wheeler is a force and QB'd the Gopher power play very successfully. Unfortunately, Minnesota had many issues this season and sucked for most of it. That influenced alot of what he accomplished last season. I would strongly recommend the Rangers take a hard look at signing him as a free agent

If we can't or don't sign Jagr - Is Sundin a feasible replacement? or is he past his core value?? interested in anyone's thoughts

The question of WHY Wheeler turned down the Coyos IMO is the most important one that needs to be answered as the CBA basically limits what first contracts are supposed to be.

By declaring for free agency Wheeler lost his 2004 rights and now has to accept a much lower first time entry level contract.

The Coyos made a bad pick to begin with as Wheeler was never worth the 5th slot.

Wheeler made an even dumber decision to leave school a year early

And whoever signs him might be making just as dumb a move because Wheeler and agent are not showing many bright ideas here.

Maloney should not be all that happy though going from his boss TGO wasting a top 5 pick to the 35th pick.

Sorry but I would pass on someone who is not making smart decisions OFF the ice. Makes me suspect his on ice decisions.


Of course Omsk is claiming that they are trying to make a deal with Jagr. Did anyone expect them not to say that after all the 12 million dollar rumors.

Please take what that franchise is saying with a grain of salt.

Jagr wants to play for the Rangers, he wants to hear the Czech National Anthem come this fall be played in front of his father and countryman

Say what you want about Jagr but never for a second doubt that he is a very patriotic person who loves his country. No dollar amount will cover being in the first NHL game ever played in his homeland after the fall of the communists



With respect to Wheeler:

Couldn't the same have been said about R.J. Umberger? That didn't work out too poorly for him OR for the Flyers.

Good point Jim. The Coyotes had 30 days to sign him once he let them know he was leaving school early. They wait til the last few days to offer him a $500,000 contract cause of situation, and its his fault for turning it down. Sorry but he made the right decision. They were prepared for him to leave early and could have afforded to offer him the entry level max but decided to play hard ball and lost. It has nothing to do with a bad attitude and everything to do with getting a fair entry level deal that any 5th pick, first round draftee would get.

Sundin???? Some of you guys blast Jagr and then ask about Sundin?

Jagr will be back, and he will be a force. I like the idea of extending Vrbida a contract and Kurt Sauer, too. Let Shanny go (make him an assistant coach), and play Prucha in his place....


I have no problems with Sundin. He had an amazing year and was THE ONLY bright spot on a team that didnt make the playoffs. I think the Rangers are set at center, so I dont think it makes sense for the Rangers to get him... but dont think Sundin is done, cause he's far from it.

I agree with Jim, on this one.
Jess, I think you are kind of hard on the guy without knowing all the facts
Maybe he just does not want to play for Phoenix. His whole life he has been playing in the Minnesota/Greenbay area, so it would be a big change to go work in a desert.
Besides didn't the Rangers trade Ryan Russell's rights to Habs last year because he did not want to sign with the Rangers?

sundin a ranger, don't think we'll be seeing that anytime soon. leafs will ante up some dough and retain their big man for one more year. figure they'll work out a looser no-trade clause this time so they can jettison him when they're doing their usual end of year tank.

why can't ranger fans get some sort of off-season game plan, however vague, from sather??!! could it really hurt ranger negotiations? other gm's throw the fans some crumbs to chew on, so why not sather? or have i missed some insightful article in those 2 gems of journalism, the post and the news?? if so, please post some links, thanks!

in the meantime, ranger hockey withdrawal is slowly ending...

I've been on vacation for about a week and one of the first things I saw when I got back is Melrose coming back to coach the Lightning? Is this a joke?


It is interesting that hockey season is over and the trolls are still obsessed with the Rangers...

I'd like to see the Rangers showing an interest in Blake Wheeler. It's not my money, true, but, then again, neither is Bourret's, for instance. And, it's not like the system has too many large dudes who allegedly can skate. Plus, if the big team has minutes for Blair Betts, almost any longshot could actually make it. Just seems like a lot of raw material there.

Here's what Red Line Report posted about Wheeler in 2004.

"Blake Wheeler and Ryan Stoa are two of the biggest and most skilled power forward prospects in the nation..."


you don't have to see much of Wheeler to recognize his talent and size...great hands, blah, blah, blah...

what is the process for signing this kid? can he receive no more than the max entry level? so no team actually has an advantage monetarily?

unless the kid wants to play in the midwest or for some particular team, imagine him with the young talent the Rangers have already? Dubinsky, Anisimov, Cherapanov, etc.

letting this kid get away without a full court press would be stupid...how often does this happen? and the rookie max is pathetically low NOT to give it to him...

he could learn from veteran's AND have the opportunity from the start to play significant minutes with NY...


am I missing something here?

I can't seem to understand why Blake Wheeler did what he did.But anyway I think the Rangers need to get younger and look into getting Wheeler and maybe Malone since I feel Shanahan may not be back do you think he'll be back next season as well as Jagr.I would like to see Malik be traded as well.

I would like to see Blake Wheeler and he is a very good player in college.I would like to see the Rangers more offensive minded defenseman as well.Does anyone think Roszival will be back next season.

Paulie, I am with you...he is 6'4', 219. Think, in 3 years he will be 230 and a man. Park him in front of the net with Dubi and there is your nucleus.

How much money did he refuse?

It seems he has to get a little tougher...Orr and Gratton can teach him that.

Gotta give it a shot...Umberger is making Slats look real bad in my eyes.

Just think what RJ would add to this team.

All of you wanting Wheeler.

No offense to any of you but exactly what do you know about Wheeler the player? How many of you have ever seen him play even once?

Without looking can anyone tell me what league Minnesota played in and the names of those teams he played against? I got to see plenty of him the last couple of years and I would pass on him.

Tell me for a guy who is as big as he is can anyone tell me how he handles the physical battles along the boards?

You do not teach toughness, you either have it or you do not. I see people suggesting that Orr and Gratton teach him how to be tough?

Can anyone tell me how he handles himself in the defensive zone? What happens when he tries to stick handle though traffic?

You look at 15 goals and think that was good numbers but you really do not know how to compare it in terms of the college game.

Funny how people call Jessiman a bust but he had better college numbers than Wheeler did during his 1st couple of seasons.

I do not knee jerk my responses when it comes to prospects I base it on what I have watched and think the Rangers can use their money wiser than him.

Mock Draft – Picks 1 - 10

Mock Draft – Picks 11 - 20



One scouting report on the Swedish speedster boasts "Mattias Tedenby has possibly the best combination of speed, technical skills and balance that Swedish junior hockey has ever seen." If even half-right, the Flames will be all over Tendenby at this spot.


TOM MCCOLLUM, G, Guelph Storm

If the Senators don't use their first pick on a goalie, well, they may want to check the Rideau Canal for high levels of something. This is as close to a no-brainer as you can get. While they may be looking at Chet Pickard from Tri-City of the WHL, we're betting the Sens go with McCollum.

19. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (from Colorado)


A hard-hitting, solid blueliner, the Jackets can only hope Teubert is available here as he was ranked comfortably inside the top ten at the beginning of the year. If someone else is looking for a rock-solid stay-at-home defenseman, Teubert could easily go 10-15.



The Rangers probably wouldn't mind a shot at Teubert but if he isn't there, Carlson isn't a bad consolation prize, if at all. With Drury and Gomez locked up until the turn of the century - well, it only seems that way - Carlson may be a welcome addition to Manhattan.

Mock Draft – Picks 21-30


COLBY ROBAK, D, Brandon Wheat Kings

Wow, the Devils selecting a defenseman. Shocking, huh? Robak is another who would leave many stunned if he falls this far and if he is there, the Devils would jump at adding a solid defenseman with tremendous offensive upside.

22. EDMONTON OILERS (from Anaheim)


Gustafsson is ranked one of the top prospects in Sweden along with Tedenby and Erik Karlsson, and his speed and smart two-way game could make him an attractive pick for Kevin Lowe. Lowe could also look overseas to Karlsson or Russian Kirill Petrov.


KIRILL PETROV, RW, Kazan (Russia)

Yeah, just what the Capitals need. Another highly-talented European, particularly one from Russia. Wonder if there is a better Russian teacher at this point than Ovechkin?


TYLER CUMA, D, Ottawa 67's

Who knows if Cuma remains on the board when Minnesota steps to the podium, but if he is the Wild will probably jump at the chance to land him. A solid defenseman groomed under Brian Kilrea? What's not to like?


NICOLAS DESCHAMPS, C, Chicoutimi Sagueneens (QMJHL)

Quickly becoming a draft favorite in La Belle Province, Deschamps has vaulted up the rankings and the Habs may look to land him, even if it means going off the board a little. Should Montreal take the chance, Deschamps will bring plenty of sandpaper, not to mention unlimited talent, to the team once he bulks up on his 175-pound frame.

posted the wrong link:

2008 NHL Mock Draft - Picks 1-10


I've been looking up Teubert. Looks like he could be solid pick if The Rangers can get him.

Look at this sick goal by Cherepanov.


Gregg, Malik is a UFA, so there will be no "trade" of him. I wouldn't mind, however, if they traded Backman or waived him.

I expect that the Rangers will have four Czechs on the team next year: Rosi, Jagr, Prucha and Vrbida (or Straka--though I hope the former). I don't expect Shanahan to be back as a player, though I expect him to still be with the organization. That said, we need a bigger stronger wing and a tough D man.



I know nothing of Wheeler other then he was a top 5 pick, big and free. It just seems logical to me that we at least make an attempt. Or should our team consist of prucha, gomez, drury, cally, dawes, P.A., Bourret, so on and so forth.

All talented guys but none who can answer the bell against the Carters, Richards, Umbergers and Malones. When Ruutu was running his yap at Jagr in the Playoffs...no one defended our star player

Godot, Malik is still Ranger property until July 1st -- maybe someone out there wants him badly enough to trade for the exclusive rights to negotiate with him before then. What are the odds?

Maloney didn't have too much to do with Wheeler, it was the old GM in PHO. Definitely make a run at him; he's big and has skill. Imagine him with Dawes and Gomez eventually that line would have it all. Sign him, get a d-man, and trade up in round two to get a crack at Jared Staal. If Staal and Wheeler pan out, that's too tough power forwards and what was the last time the Rangers had that?

Like they say, you can't coach size. Besides, if Wheeler is a big zero why did Phoenix offer him the max? To be able to show people they didn't waste a pick? Somehow that doesn't make sense to me.

As for Wheeler accepting less money to control his future, how is that a bad decision? Just the other day somebody said "quality of life" was more important than barrels full of rubles.

It's pretty fun out there in Phoenix but I guess hockey isn't the number priority. LOL..the Rangers should dress Sjostrom up in a suit and have him give a corporate power point presentation about the benefits of playing in NY and send it to Wheeler.


According to this, Phoenix could offer 950k base per year max for Wheeler. Any other team, the max base is 875k.

Jack, you've named a bunch of the Rangers small forwards and prospects, but conveniently forgot to mention guys like Byers, Anisimov, Korpikoski, Dubinsky, and Dupont, all of whom are over 6 foot and are either pushing 200lb or are already over.

I have no opinion on Wheeler, but I'm guessing that if he walked away from Pheonix, he's got a destination or two in mind already. And for a Minnesota boy who's been close to home his whole career I have trouble believing it's the Rangers.

There's more to the Wheeler situation than just what the Yotes can or can't pay him on an entry level contract. A report was leaked just yesterday showing how poorly Phoenix is doing at the box office -- lowest of all 30 teams, losing $30 mil a year. He's as worried about his next contract as he is this one and probably wants to start out with a stable franchise. The irony is that the Yotes drafted him so high because they thought that would help them defer the cost of signing him to after college, but now they're in worse shape than they were then -- way to go, Gary!

By the way, with respect to size, Wheeler is tall, not big -- at 6'5-220 or whatever he is, he's smaller in height and weight than Hugh Jessiman, and Hugh is not as big as everyone believed him to be (just tall). Ryan Hollweg at 210 does not weigh much less than Wheeler and he's half a foot shorter at 5'11. Maybe Wheeler is stronger than Hugh -- I don't know.

I'm guessing Wheeler made this decision because it means he'll never be a RFA and he'll never go to arbitration.

How could he not make this choice?

Dubi, you crack me up!


I would not classify Anisimov and Korpikoski as Big players..they might be tall but that is about it. Byers yes, loves Dubi and I think Dupont has the size and the grit...but we need some pound for pound guys who will defend our stars.

Barry Melrose? Oh, boy...

Jack, what gives you the impression that a guy who's spent the past 3 years in the NCAA is going to be able to fight and defend anyone? Size doesn't necessarily equal grit. As for Korpikoski, if you've seen him play, you know that he can throw his weight around and take care of himself. He's not the scrawny 19 year old that came over for the 2006 playoffs. And Ansimov put on 10 lbs over the course of his first season and has plenty more to go. If the end of this season is anything to go by, I think he's going to surprise a lot of people who are expecting a dainty, finesse-type Russian. He even went so far as to ask Jessiman to teach him how to fight. The point is, there's more on the farm than the elves you've mentioned, and what's there can look out for themselves, and in some cases, others. There's no reason to bring in size just for size sake.

Any chance of the Rangers signing Dominic Moore and getting rid of Blair Betts? Moore has good speed, doesn't mind the hitting, and forechecking parts of the game either.

Anisimov looked great to me in preseason, and that was as a lanky 19-year-old. I saw him play in person twice and I think he's gonna be special. I'm hoping he can turn heads and make the surprise everyone and make the team this year...who knows...


I know nothing of Wheeler other then he was a top 5 pick, big and free. It just seems logical to me that we at least make an attempt.

Again it goes back to he was selected by the Coyos way before he should have been. I do use logical more than I do emotion when it comes prospects. As I said yesterday 29 NHL teams laughed when the Coyos selected him at 5 because nobody had his rated that high.

Those who really know Wheeler know that his NCAA career can be described as "rocky" as he has not progressed like many expected.

Not to mention but Laurie is right you left out Ranger prospects who do have size but they also have some skill of their own.

Remember Alex Daigle? He was supposed to be the "next big thing" and where was he picked? Ignore where a prospect was selected, his size and ask instead what size is his heart.

In my book Dawes has 5x the heart than Wheeler does.

Paul A

I'm guessing Wheeler made this decision because it means he'll never be a RFA and he'll never go to arbitration.

You guessed wrong as Wheeler will have the same rights under the CBA in PHX that he would elsewhere.


He's as worried about his next contract as he is this one and probably wants to start out with a stable franchise.

Sorry Dubi but Wheeler's agent issued a statement that said: We appreciate the Coyotes offering the maximum amount. There is no question that they wanted to sign Blake and made every effort to do so but there was more than money involved in this decision. Per the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement, it is Blake's right to pursue Unrestricted Free Agency. Most players wait until their late 20s to become Unrestricted and choose where they will live and play. Blake now has the opportunity at age 21, which is the biggest reason for him pursuing this route at this point in his career."

Maloney for his part believes Wheeler was given bad advice and quite honestly this is one of those rare occasions where I agree with Donnie. Wheeler has made himself into quite a target by thinking he is above the system.

The old school thinkers are not going to be happy that if Wheeler can do this that others are going to try the same deal. Wheeler might have done himself more harm.

On the other hand this point of yours:

but now they're in worse shape than they were then -- way to go, Gary!

You do not realize how right you are here. Prior to the Coyos having their new arena built, the franchise was thisclose to being sold to a group in Portland Oregon. Bettman stepped in and there are 30 million reasons why this franchise is so screwed up.

Gary Bettman stepped in and got Gretzky involved with the group looking to take over the Coyote franchise. The Coyotes remain as screwed up today as they were before Gretzky joined them.


Thank you

Jess (or Dubi or anyone else)... Bill Meltzer of Hockey Buzz claims that, because of the lack of transfer agreement between the NHL and IIHF, that NHL teams will retain the rights of their unsigned 2006 European draft picks past the CBA-specified June 1st, 2008 deadline. Can anyone confirm this, or provide a source less dubious than Hockey Buzz? And does this mean that the Rangers will now retain the rights to Kveton, Zaborsky, and Zeliska past tomorrow even if they go unsigned (which I suspect they will)?

The devils signed the finnish d man the other day, can anyone sign this wheeler kid at any time as well? I thought you could not sign free agents until 01 July. Just curious and thanks for the info.

I don't know much about this Wheeler kid, but I agree with Jess. For me, I don't want a kid who already knows that he made the NHL AND what team he will play with. I didn't like the Lindros thing and I don't like this. Earn your way, prove you belong in the NHL. All professionals need an ego, but it needs to be a healty ego, not some self-centered thing. I'd pass.

does anyone else besides me think the signing of tuomo ruutu would be a good idea?

I HATE NBC!!! I HATE EDDIE O!!! I HATE THE PENGUINS!!!!! Its so hard listening to how these games are called!! Its hard watching the refs make (or not make) calls. UGH!!

"You guessed wrong as Wheeler will have the same rights under the CBA in PHX that he would elsewhere."

This sentence is...bewildering. Do you actually understand any of this story, or are you...?

Correct if I am wrong, please...but:

Once you are an unrestricted free agent you can never again be a restricted free agent. You are not subject to arbitration either. Blake Wheeler is about to become an unrestricted free agent.

Yeah, of course Don Maloney thinks Wheeler got bad advice. Maloney drafted Jessiman and Montoya, right? Great authority, that guy.

The rest of your 'logic' runs a lot like wishful thinking.

"I don't know much about this Wheeler kid, but I agree with Jess. For me, I don't want a kid who already knows that he made the NHL AND what team he will play with. I didn't like the Lindros thing and I don't like this. Earn your way, prove you belong in the NHL. All professionals need an ego, but it needs to be a healty ego, not some self-centered thing. I'd pass."
Posted by: rangerbill94


I'll say this and I'm done. Alex Daigle? Audacious!

Um...sorry...turns out 'audacious' was the wrong word. Meant 'absurd'.

Now I'm really done.

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