The Winnipeg Jets have been busy so far this offseason. They drafted defenseman Jacob Trouba in the first round, re-signed No. 1 goalie Ondrej Pavelec and agreed to terms with free agents Olli Jokinen and Alexei Ponikarovsky. But don't forget about returning players such as Blake Wheeler.
Wheeler took a while to get rolling in 2010-11. He didn't score a goal in the Jets' first 18 games of the season. However, once he figured things out, Wheeler was one of the best wingers in the league. He carried the team at times, scoring 21 points in one 13-game stretch, and finished the season with a career-high and team-best 64 points. Here's a look back at five of his best games.
vs. Carolina Hurricanes (Dec. 9) -- The Jets defeated the Carolina Hurricanes, 4-2, at the MTS Centre behind Wheeler's three assists. He had the primary assists on first-period goals by Dustin Byfuglien and Evander Kane and helped on Bryan Little's second-period goal to make it 4-0.
vs. Montreal Canadiens (Dec. 22) -- Winnipeg whitewashed the Canadiens, 4-0, at the MTSC as Wheeler scored the opening goal of the game on the power play at 3:18 of the first period and added an insurance marker early in the second. It was Wheeler's first two-goal game of the season.
vs. St. Louis Blues (Feb. 25) -- The Jets lost a heart-breaker to the St. Louis Blues, 3-2, in a shootout at the MTS Centre, but Wheeler had a memorable game. After the Jets fell behind 2-0 in the first period, he scored twice in the middle frame and opened the shootout with a goal. It just wasn't enough.
vs. Boston Bruins (Feb. 17) -- Wheeler, who scored a goal in the second period, drew the primary assists on a pair of Bryan Little goals in the third period, as the Jets flew past the red-hot Boston Bruins, 4-2, at the MTS Centre. Boston entered the game with a record of 35-18-2.
vs. Colorado Avalanche (Feb. 19) -- Wheeler dished out four assists for a season-high in points, as the Jets blasted the Avalanche, 5-1, at the MTSC. He was in on a pair of Bryan Little goals, including the game-winner in the second period, as well as goals by Kyle Wellwood and Andrew Ladd.
Adam Martini is a freelance sportswriter and supporter of all Winnipeg sports teams. He no longer dreads Winnipeg winters now that the Jets have returned to town. You can follow Adam on Twitter @PegCitySports.
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