On the Boston Globe hockey blog, Kevin Paul Dupont reports that highly-coveted free agent Blake Wheeler will sign with the Bruins July 1.
"More than 20 NHL teams were interested in Blake, and this was a
very tough decision,’’ agent Matt Keator told Dupont. "And ultimately it came down to
a few things for Blake, but mostly that he was comfortable with where
the Bruins were headed as an organization — how this year they brought
along kids like David Krejci, Milan Lucic, and Mark Stuart. They’ve
done a good job of developing kids, and he wants to continue along that
Wheeler, 21, is 6-4, 220 and was drafted
No. 5 overall by the Phoenix Coyotes in 2004. After his junior season at the University of Minnesota – where he’s been a teammate of Canadiens prospect David Fischer – Wheeler announced that he
would turn pro and intended to exercise the right to be a free agent if
he could not come to contract terms with the Coyotes.
Because he played a year of junior hockey before going to Minnesota, Wheeler was eligible to exercise his right to become a UFA four years after his draft day. After becoming a free agent June 8, Wheeler had bids from around the league. Last week, the field was cut to four, which Dupont says were the Bruins,
Canadiens, Rangers, and either the Devils or Wild.
Boston will also buy out Glen Murray to free up salary cap space. The Bruins are poised to make an aggresssive run at Marian Hossa if he doesn’t sign with Pittsburgh.