Bruins winger Blake Wheeler ‘s arbitration hearing has been set for July 27, agent Matt Keator told WEEI.com on Tuesday. Though the team has generally avoided such hearings at all costs, their current salary cap situation may prevent them from being able to give Wheeler a new deal prior to arbitration.
Asked by WEEI.com if any negotiations to re-up the 23-year-old have been complicated by the team’s lack of cap space [the team has only $1,687,229 available according to CapGeek.com ] Keator said there has been “not much talk yet” between the two parties, so Wheeler’s camp is “not sure” of whether the Bruins are planning on making a roster move to accommodate a deal as he prepares to enter his third season. If the hearing takes place and the Bruins choose not to pay him what he is awarded in arbitration, Wheeler will become an unrestricted free agent.
The fifth overall pick in the 2004 NHL  draft by the Phoenix Coyotes , Wheeler never signed on with Phoenix after playing his college hockey at the University of Minnesota and signed with the Bruins in the 2008 offseason. In two NHL  seasons, both with the Bruins, Wheeler has totaled 39 goals and 44 assists for 83 points in 163 games. He earned $2.8 million last season.
Defenseman Mark Stuart was, like Wheeler, eligible for arbitration but chose against electing the process and last week signed a new deal for one year and $1.675 million. Center Gregory Campbell , who also filed for arbitration, has a hearing set for July 22, according to Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe.