Bruins right wing Blake Wheeler, honeymooning in Hawaii this week after his weekend nuptials in Minnesota, has another key date on his July calendar. About to enter his third year in the NHL, the towering winger is scheduled to be in Toronto on July 27 for his salary arbitration hearing.
''Both sides would like to avoid it,'' said Wheeler's agent, Matt Keator, speaking today from Rochester, N.Y., where he attended a camp for top 17-year-old talent in the U.S. ''I suppose there is a wide range of comps (comparable salaries) to draw on, but.....hey, it's all just part of the process to reaching a deal both sides think is fair.''
Wheeler, who tied for third in team goal scoring (18) this past season, figured as a $2.825 million cap hit on the Boston salary books. In two seasons, he has played all but one game (163 total), and has chipped in roughly a half-point per game (39-44-83) in his brief tenure.
In accordance with NHL bylaws, the Bruins can elect a one- or two-year arbitration decision. Once the decision is rendered, the Bruins can elect to accept the figure or opt to render Wheeler, 24 next month, an unrestricted free agent.
The Bruins also are expected to go to arbitration in the next few weeks with center Greg Campbell, whom they acquired recently in trade with Florida.
Boston GM Peter Chiarelli, reached this afternoon, wrote via email that Campbell's aribitration date has been set for July 22. He earned $800,000 last season wtih Florida.