Blake Wheeler signed his one-year $2.2M deal contract this morning, nearly three days after the arbitration hearing that determined his salary was held. No truth to the rumor that the delay was because Wheeler was asked to check the documents.
The signing puts the big, young, but thus-far-soft winger in the fold for the coming season. It also the puts the team over the salary cap without having signed phenom-in-waiting Tyler Seguin (a $3.5Mish cap hit waiting to happen).
Walking away from the award was never an option. Provided they don't trade him for picks (not a stretch given the cap situation, Wheeler's lackluster postseason finish, and willing bodies in Providence that will make a quarter of what he does), the one-year deal essentially gives Wheeler another audition with the team.
After a surprise rookie year, highlighted by this shortie, Wheeler struggled to gain his footing last year, both figuratively and literally, as his many offsides would indicate. To be fair, not having his budding-All Star center healthy or the other winger on his line breathing didn't do much for his offensive game.
The Bs now have a 48 hour buyout period but it's unlikely they'll be taking that particular action with anybody. However, many actions loom on the horizon as Pete Chiarelli gets this roster finalized and under the cap before the European Vacation.