After a much hypothesized about delay, Boston Bruins left wing Blake Wheeler received a $2.2 million dollar arbitration award on Thursday. The Bruins promptly accepted the award, and signed Wheeler to his one year deal Friday morning.
Wheeler, the 23 year old former Minnesota Golden Gopher, and the Bruins went to a salary arbitration on Tuesday. According to the Boston Globe's Fluto Shinzawa, arbiter Elizabeth Neumeier had another high-profile arbitration on her plate - that of Chicago Blackhawks goalie Antti Niemi - thus delaying the announcement of Wheeler's award.
In a teleconference late Friday morning, Wheeler emphasized the same points his agent had throughout arbitration: that he was spending the summer working on hockey skills to boost his productivity. Amongst the Bruins fan base, the winger has been maligned because of his relative disappearance during the playoffs the past two seasons.
According to CSNNE.com's Bruins beat writer Joe Haggerty's Twitter feed from the teleconference, Wheeler mentioned working on shooting skills, admitting "I've been more of a passer my first two years."
Wheeler's signing now approximately places the Bruins over the salary cap by about $600,000. They still have yet to reach a deal with their first round draft pick, Tyler Seguin.
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