The New York Rangers are getting some great news as they skate into the Eastern Conference Final. Rangers forward Blake Wheeler is available to play for the team in any capacity, per ESPN. Wheeler has been off the ice with a leg injury since February.

“I think once you get rid of the red jersey, and the fact they take me off of the injured reserve, I think that's been my goal the whole time since I got hurt: to be an option and be available again. And that's where we're at,” Wheeler said, per ESPN.

Wheeler's stats this season

Wheeler was a reliable cog in the Rangers' offense before going down to injury. He had a plus-minus on the season of plus 2, in 54 game appearances. The winger also scored 9 goals on the year, along with recording 12 assists. His unselfish play will surely be welcomed back by the club when he returns to the ice.

The forward is also an experienced veteran that brings a lot of leadership to the locker room. Wheeler has appeared in more than 1,100 career NHL games. He is in his first year with the team, after playing the last 13 seasons with the Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets. Wheeler has not appeared in a playoff game since the 2022 season with Winnipeg. In his career, he has recorded 45 points in the postseason, per ESPN.

Wheeler has been in the NHL since 2008, when he first appeared with the Boston Bruins.

Rangers in the 2024 Playoffs

New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) celebrates his goal against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period in game six of the second round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena.
© James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

New York has been red-hot on the ice in this postseason. The Rangers bullied the Washington Capitals in the first round of the playoffs, sweeping the team in four games. Then New York skated out to a 3-0 lead against the Carolina Hurricanes, and closed out that team in six games.

Wheeler has been watching from afar, while his team has gone on this run. The winger says he's incredibly excited to get back into the action.

“You sit on the couch watching these guys play … I just want to be back with the guys, with the group on the ice with them, in any capacity I can,” Wheeler added. “They're a heck of a group in here. I've had just a blast playing with these guys all year. And then certainly the run they've been on, just like I said, that's the motivation right there.”

The Rangers take the ice for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final on Wednesday. The team has to get past the Florida Panthers in the series, in order to make the Stanley Cup. New York hasn't been in the Stanley Cup finals since 2014. They last won the championship in 1994.