Jets sign captain Blake Wheeler to 5-year, $41.25 million extension

The Winnipeg Jets signed captain Blake Wheeler to a five-year, $41.25 million contract extension Tuesday.

The deal has an average annual value of $8.25 million. Wheeler, a 32-year-old right wing, was due to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2018-19 season.

Wheeler, a 10-year NHL veteran, is coming off a career year. He led the Jets with 91 points (23 goals, 68 assists) and he tied Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers for the NHL lead in assists.

The Jets lost in the Western Conference final to the Vegas Golden Knights last season. After losing out on trade-deadline acquisition Paul Stastny in free agency, the Jets focused their 2018-19 game plan on taking care of their own. Winnipeg also signed goaltender Connor Hellebuyck to a six-year extension in July.

Next up could be extensions for 23-year-old defenseman Josh Morrissey, who is a restricted free agent after the season, and 20-year-old winger Patrik Laine, who is entering the final year of his entry-level contract.

Wheeler is the fifth Jets player signed through at least 2023-24, joining Hellebuyck, alternate captain Mark Scheifele, Nikolaj Ehlers and Bryan Little

Wheeler was named Jets captain on Aug. 31, 2016. He is one of three players still with the organization since it relocated from Atlanta to Winnipeg in 2011. Wheeler is already the franchise leader in assists (383) and is second on the Jets' franchise scoring list with 495 points in 557 games.