23-Year-Old Center – Columbus Blue Jackets
Alexander Wennberg Contract Information:
Signed a six-year, $29.4 million contract with the Blue Jackets in September of 2017.
Wennberg (upper body) will be absent for Monday's game against Buffalo, Aaron Portzline of The Athletic Cleveland reports.
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Alexander Wennberg: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Wennberg showed some growth in his sophomore campaign, doubling his goal and point totals while improving his plus-minus and generally looking a lot readier for the rigors of the NHL. The 21-year-old will be asked to make another leap forward in 2016-17, however, as the Jackets’ lack of depth up the middle has him penciled in as the second-line center to begin the season. That role would provide him with a much-improved supporting cast, likely including Brandon Saad, but while the young pivot’s already demonstrated that he can handle himself in his own end, Wennberg hasn't yet proven he's ready for that level of responsibility on offense. Assuming he uses this offseason to get stronger and avoid the various injuries that cost him 13 games last year, though, the Swede’s outstanding vision, passing and hockey IQ could allow him to challenge the 50-assist mark thanks to the snipers riding shotgun for him.
Last year's 14th overall pick has the skill and hockey IQ to excel in just about any role on an NHL roster, and the 19-year-old Wennberg will get a legitimate chance to earn a spot on the Columbus roster in training camp. His fantasy ceiling might be limited at the outset, but down the road, he could comfortably settle in on a second or third line and be the kind of player who contributes at both ends of the ice.
The 14th overall pick in this year's draft, Wennberg has the skill, smarts and drive to make an impact in every zone on the ice once he transitions over to North America. He's still a couple of years away from the NHL, but he should adapt quickly to the pro game and become a fixture in the Blue Jackets' lineup.