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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Would Blake Wheeler Be a Good Fit For The Pittsburgh Penguins?

     Once again Pittsburgh Penguins General Manager (GM) Ray Shero, may have another interesting approach for the Pens at the trade deadline. With Pascal Dupuis out for an extended period of time, possibly for the remainder of the season, Shero may look to fill the void by adding a player with scoring ability to play on the line of Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz to fill in Dupuis' place. One player in particular has popped up on several occasions as a potential target for the Penguins, and that is Winnipeg Jets Forward Blake Wheeler.

     Blake Wheeler
                                                                                   Lance Thomson/Getty Images

     Blake Wheeler has great scoring ability (64 points in 2011-12 season and 41 points in last year's shortened season of 48 games), and has 38 points so far this season in 50 games ( 17 Goals 21 Assists). Wheeler's success has resulted in a spot on Team USA's roster for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. Coaching him will be none other than Pittsburgh Penguins Head Coach Dan Bylsma! This coach-player relationship could potentially result in the Penguins drawing more interest in Wheeler, especially if he ends up being one of Team USA's main contributor's.

      For the Pittsburgh Penguins, not only would Wheeler provide the scoring ability, but also addresses one of the Penguins weak area's in size (6ft 5in). This was evident in the team's performance in the conference finals last year against the Boston Bruins where they ended up getting swept in four games. For a guy his size, Wheeler can actually be very creative with the puck! (see below)


     Wheeler would certainly be a good fit to be on the Penguins top line alongside Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz, who are each amongst the top scorers in the league. (Crosby in first in total points ;Goals & Assists). Wheeler's own production level may increase playing alongside such caliber players! What the Penguins may/will have to give in return may not be as costly as some may believe. It is said Winnipeg is looking to strengthen its blueline, and Simon Despres name has been linked to a potential trade if Pittsburgh were to land Wheeler. ( ) It will take a little more than Despres alone to acquire Wheeler, so possibly another prospect and/or draft pick(s) would be sent Winnipeg's way. Knowing Ray Shero, if he can work his magic, I do not see why he would not be able to pull off yet another genius move like he has done in the past (Marian Hossa 2008 Pascal Dupuis was shipped alongside in package deal , James Neal 2011, Jarome Iginla 2013).

     Oh yes, the trade deadline will definitely be interesting to say the least, and it will be interesting to see what, if any, moves the Penguins make, and if Wheeler does perhaps receive calls from Pittsburgh!


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