Blake Wheeler is a massive, 6-foot-5, 205-pound winger whose NHL career started when the Phoenix Coyotes stunned experts by taking him fifth overall at the 2004 Draft, when it was not even necessarily expected that he'd go in the top 30. However, Wheeler never played for the Coyotes, instead eventually signing with the Boston Bruins, who be broke into the League and started to establish himself as a potent goal scorer with in 2008-09. He was then traded after two-and-a-half years in Boston to the Atlanta Thrashers in 2010-11, relocating to join Winnipeg, his current team, when Atlanta moved to become the second incarnation of the Winnipeg Jets at the start of the 2011-12 season.
- Averaged 18.5 goals per season for four seasons from 2008-12, upping his scoring rate during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season by scoring 19 goals in just 48 games.
- During the NHL's 2009 All-Star weekend, he was the MVP of the YoungStars game, a separate event featuring the NHL's top young--but not regular All-Stars--players.
- Represented the U.S. at the 2007 IIHF World Championships, as well as the 2006 World Junior Championships.
Things to know:
1. Hails from Plymouth, Minn., which is the same town as former Dallas Cowboys (2005-10) and Chicago Bears (2011) running back Marion Barber.
2. His hometown, Plymouth, Minn., was voted by Money magazine as number one in "America's Best Places To Live" in 2008.
3. Shares a birthday with 2010 Canadian men's Olympic hockey captain Scott Niedermayer, as well as actor Richard Gere.