Blake Wheeler’s arbitration case has concluded. Both sides will now wait for the arbitrator to issue a decision within the 48-hour window.
“I think it was handled very professionally by both sides,” said Matt Keator, Wheeler’s agent. “Our interpretation of the marketplace is different from theirs, hence the disagreement. I think both sides handled it well, keeping it professionally. They pointed out Blake’s shortcomings. We pointed out Blake’s strengths. But Blake already knew his shortcomings. He knows what he needs to work on. There were no hurt feelings in what was said. It was not contentious at all.”
Keator did not disclose any comparables that were discussed during the hearing. However, it’s a good bet that Mason Raymond ($2.55 million annual cap hit), Nikolai Kulemin ($2.35 million), and David Perron ($2.15 million) were comparables brought up by both parties.
Because of his statistics over the last two seasons (83 points, 163 of a possible 164 games played, ample ice time in all situations), Wheeler’s award could be in the $2.5 million range. Even if Wheeler’s one-year award is costlier than the Bruins expected, they are highly unlikely to walk away from the 23-year-old left wing.
“No way,” said Keator. “These 6-foot-5 players who have 83 points over their first two seasons don’t grow on trees. I don’t get that sense at all.”