The Winnipeg Jets have removed the “C” from Blake Wheeler's jersey and will play the next NHL season without a captain.
Jets head coach Rick Bowness, who took over behind the bench in the off-season, said in a statement that Winnipeg will start the campaign “with a group of assistants still to be determined.”
Bowness said the Jets want to expand their leadership base.
Wheeler took over as Jets captain before the 2016-17 season. He replaced Andrew Ladd, who was dealt to Chicago at the 2016 trade deadline.
The Jets qualified for the playoffs three times with Wheeler as captain and advanced to the Western Conference final in the 2017-18 season. They also appeared in the qualifying round of the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season, but lost to Calgary in four games.
The Jets finished sixth in the Central Division last season and missed the playoffs. Their season was marked by the departure of head coach Paul Maurice and some players, including star Mark Scheifele, questioned the direction of the team after the campaign.