With Friday’s announcement that the Bruins have agreed to a salary awarded in arbitration for the first time since Peter Chiarelli took over as general manager, it became official that right wing Blake Wheeler  would be back in Boston for the 2010-2011 season. The 23-year-old Wheeler told members of the media Friday that it’s exactly where he wants to be.
“It never crossed my mind, being with another team,” Wheeler said. “I think that would be a pretty big surprise for me, but throughout the whole process, even if that was an option, I definitely wanted to be in Boston. Not only because our group of guys is so good and we’ve had such a good locker room over the last couple of years and such great team chemistry. I think we’re right on the cusp of getting to where we want to go. I think every guy in our room can feel that.”
Arbitration is something that both sides generally like to avoid at all costs. A process in which a team basically has to tell a player he isn’t as good he thinks he is can be rather difficult. Wheeler came away from the whole process pleased, however, with how both his camp and the Bruins were able to handle the hearing.
“Before the hearing, I was anxious, obviously. You hear all the horror stories of all the different things that go on in those rooms, but once I was in there and having both sides being argued, it was handled extremely professionally,” Wheeler said. “There was nothing said in that room that I didn’t already know myself. There were no low blows or anything like that taken on either side. ”
Now that Wheeler is back on a one-year $2.2 million deal, he looks forward to getting back into the swing of things and making up for a disappointing Game 7 loss to the Flyers in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
“Last year was certainly heartbreaking in the sense that we were one win away for four games to going to the net ground and advancing our hopes of obviously winning the Stanley Cup ,” Wheeler said. “There’s been a lot of excitement in the moves that have been made.”