By Scott Billeck – @scottbilleck
Blake Wheeler has been named to the U.S. Olympic Men’s Hockey Team for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
Wheeler, 27, has played in 42 games with the Winnipeg Jets so far this season. In that time, the right-winger has earned a team-leading 15 goals and 16 assists for 31 points this campaign. The Plymouth, MN native has played in 414 career NHL games between Boston, Atlanta and Winnipeg for 263 career points (108G, 155A) and 254 penalty minutes.
Wheeler has been on a tear for the Jets in the month of December, racking up 14 points on 10 goals and four assists over 14 games.
This will be the third time Wheeler has represented his country after suiting up for Team USA in the 2006 World Junior Championships and at the 2011 World Championships. In 14 total games wearing the USA sweater, Wheeler has amassed four goals and three assists. He was originally drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes in the first round, fifth overall, at the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.
Meanwhile, Dustin Byfuglien was snubbed after some experts predicted he would make the 25-man roster.
The XXII Olympic Winter Games will take place from Friday, February 7 to Sunday, February 23, 2014.
(with files from the Winnipeg Jets)