Five Questions With … Blake Wheeler

Blake Wheeler had 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in 23 games with the Thrashers after being acquired from Boston on Feb. 18, playing right wing on the team’s top line. In 81 games with both teams he had 18 goals and a career-high 26 assists.

Wheeler is a restricted free agent and general manager Rick Dudley said following the season he would like to work out a long-term deal. Wheeler will compete for the U.S. at the World Championships.

In the next of a series of interviews with Thrashers players following the 2010-11 season, here is some of what Wheeler had to say about his time in Atlanta and the future of the team.

Q. How did you think the season went for you personally after arriving in the trade and how did you think you fit in?

A. I think since the trade I was pleased with the opportunity I was given here. It was great and exciting. I think I did as well as I could with it. It makes it really exciting for me going into the offseason knowing what to expect next year. I expect to bring even more to the table than I did this year.

Q. You were pleased with the expanded role and how you performed in it?

A. Yes, there is no doubt. Looking at it strictly numbers-wise, before and after the trade, I almost matched my production in Boston in the short period of time here. That’s something I can definitely build on.

Q. How disappointing is it and how will you deal with the fact that you left Boston and they are in the playoffs and you are here starting an early summer?

A. It is disappointing. It’s not what you want to do. You want to be involved in the tournament because every year it seems like a six, seven or eight seed are making it to the Eastern finals, even the Stanley Cup finals. As long as you put yourself in the position to compete in the playoffs you give yourself a chance to achieve the ultimate goal. I think everyone knows this team is right there. We have a lot of the pieces in place. Right from the start you have to have the mindset that anything less in unacceptable.

Q. Do think there are lessons about winning that you and Mark Stuart might have passed on after your arrival?

A. It’s all an attitude, a mentality. You expect to win every night. Coming from Boston, that was our expectation every night. If we are having a tough night, things aren’t going our way, you have to find a way to get it done. Waiting for the next game to come around isn’t acceptable. You have to keep in mind too, that there are a lot of young faces on this team with a lot of talent. That is a really positive thing. If some of the older veteran guys can keep sharing some of their wisdom with these guys the learning curve is going to go down and you are going to start to see some really good hockey players out there.

Q. You go into the summer as a restricted free agent. What do you expect or hope happens?

A. I learned the game last summer. I went all the way to the end with arbitration. I definitely learned that patience is a virtue. I had a few phone calls last summer, ‘What’s going on? Why isn’t anything happening?’ You learn pretty quickly that the process takes care of itself. That’s not up to me. I’m not involved in any negotiations. I let the agent to all that and when ever it comes, it comes.

The series will continue over the next couple of weeks. Coming Friday, Nik Antropov.

28 comments Add your comment

Spakeshear

April 21st, 2011
8:18 am

1st!!!!! Chris, thanks for all the time & energy that you have put forth this year. Mucho gracias !

builder dawg

April 21st, 2011
8:42 am

sign this guy NOW!!!!!!!

Michael B. Shapiro

April 21st, 2011
8:44 am

Wheeler has been a very good addition. Let’s hope that Le Thrash realize that and get a deal done soon. Would be nice to lock him and Ladd up for several years.

KLS1

April 21st, 2011
8:51 am

I like what Wheeler brought last season…he needs to part of building this team into a winner.

Yuvno Ballzerdik

April 21st, 2011
9:29 am

Wheeler, Stuart > Beverley and Doris.

Ben

April 21st, 2011
9:49 am

Waiting for 5 questions with – Don Waddell.

TrueBlue

April 21st, 2011
10:13 am

Excellent read. Wheeler and Little are definitely my favorite 2 guys on the team. Wheeler came in and got right down to work. He put forth the effort each and every night. Some guys come in after leaving a good team via trade and try and get people to feel sorry for them. He came in and busted his butt each game. He is definitely a keeper. If Little and Wheeler can return to their 1st year forms it would push this team past the wall it seems to hit year after year.

Sam

April 21st, 2011
10:15 am

Wheeler’s 24 y/o, and has been in the league 3 seasons. He also has 2 seasons with post-season experience. And all 3 seasons he put up 18-21G and 20-26 assists. His first season he was a +36. And his combined +10 bet ATL and Boston, puts him 2nd only to Bryan Little on the Thrashers. There’s a lot to like about Blake Wheeler. And he was only in ATL a quarter of the season. I look forward to what he’ll do with more ice time and more PP time next season…and many seasons to come.

Both of the guys from Boston, Wheeler and Stuart, had to be recommended by Ramsay. And they contributed in a huge way to this team for the 23 games they played. Makes me feel good about the choices of ATL’s coach and GM….and look forward to who will be coming here over the summer.

kovyoverrated

April 21st, 2011
10:27 am

Glavine heading up a group to by the team? That would be sweet.

The Real Thrash

April 21st, 2011
10:57 am

Don’t hold your breath for Waddell.
Like this guy and his attitude.
Ramsey needs guys who have that.

Joe McGrath

April 21st, 2011
11:34 am

If Glavin and Carter can get together on this thing, the money will follow. It would be great to have hockey people in the ownership. I’m crossing my fingers.

radeksmom

April 21st, 2011
1:48 pm

5 questions.blah blah.blah. Why dont you end it already and write a blog for the teams in the playoffs….

Wienerpeg Trolls

April 21st, 2011
1:52 pm

Blah, blah, blah is right. Why don’t you just go to the blogs for the teams in the playoffs you troll????

Winnipeg Jet

April 21st, 2011
1:55 pm

Waddell is GOD

radeksmom

April 21st, 2011
2:01 pm

troll i am. and I’m a happy playoff troll.

You are just a miserable Thrasher fan who has been in hockey hell for the last 10 years.

Wienerpeg Trolls

April 21st, 2011
2:10 pm

You don’t even have a team in your city troll, much less in the playoffs. Stay warm troll.

radeksmom

April 21st, 2011
2:26 pm

make some sense troll

Puck Like A Porn Star

April 21st, 2011
2:38 pm

One Question With … Arthur Blank:

Are you buying the Thrashers, Hawks, and Philips Arena today, or tomorrow?

Puck Like A Porn Star

April 21st, 2011
3:37 pm

Then again, if Glavine and some former Atlanta Flames buy the Thrashers, will they replace the Taco Mac at Philips with a TJ’s?

Winnipeg Jet

April 21st, 2011
4:29 pm

We got no food, no jobs… our PETS’ HEADS ARE FALLING OFF!”

Peg Boy (NOW WITH MORE SYRUP!!)

April 21st, 2011
5:37 pm

Odds are 1 in 1,000,000 that not everyone in Winnipeg is a moose-humping, syrup-sucking, blog troll?

…So you’re sayin’ there’s a CHANCE!

Allowed 6 goals on 6 shots

April 21st, 2011
8:53 pm

I wonder if Peverly or Sops miss Atlanta

Scotty Bowman

April 22nd, 2011
6:33 am

How about ONE question for Don Waddell: ‘Why do you still have a job with the franchise?”

Blue Liner

April 22nd, 2011
6:39 am

Lay off Waddell. He (and one assumes Dudley) is busy preparing to pick – as usual – in the very top of the draft and eagerly implementing the the middle part of his third “Five Year Plan.”

Yuvno Ballzerdik

April 22nd, 2011
7:01 am

Peverley probably does miss it here, he is required to “hit” while playing for Boston. Hitting is overrated here and obviously not required. Watch the playoffs..I’m glad we aren’t there..we would be slaughtered.

Brendan

April 22nd, 2011
3:06 pm

Wheeler’s comments regarding his agent upset me. Oh, not that Wheeler said anything inappropriate. It’s pretty stand to defer to one’s representation, when the topic of a contract comes up. I don’t even know why we ask, other than, it looks like we’re not doing our jobs if we don’t ask about the contract.

Sigh. In the end, Wheeler has told his agent what to do. And if you don’t believe that, nothing I can say will ever convince you of its truthfulness. If Wheeler is arbitration eligible, like it sounds like he is, we can lose this player.

Tony C.

April 22nd, 2011
9:45 pm

How kick-ass would a TJ’s @ The Flatscreen be?

ATLREP

April 24th, 2011
1:28 pm

Great questions.