The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed forward Alexander Wennberg to a six-year contract worth a reported $29.4 million. That amounts to $4.9 million a year for the 22-year-old.
Wennberg is coming off his entry level deal with the Blue Jackets, which was signed in May of 2014.
The Stockholm native had 13 goals and 46 assists last season for a total of 59 points in 80 games. He scored two goals on the power play for a total of 23 points on the man advantage. He registered 109 shots on goal.
In five post-season games with Columbus, Wennberg registered an assist.
The forward’s point totals have been increasing steadily since his rookie season in 2014-2015, when he posted 20 points in 68 games.
Wennberg is a skilled forward capable of burying his chances. He’s creative with the puck and plays a two-way game, which makes him a solid fit on the Blue Jackets. They’d like him to add a bit more bulk to the frame, plus he could stand to shoot the puck a little more.
The deal took a little longer than many would’ve liked, but Columbus had a lot to consider. Apparently.
Wennberg was just three points off the scoring lead, but he started his career in the bottom six. When he was bumped up the depth chart, he doubled his totals. And when he started as the top line centre, he excelled.
Ahead of the signing, the Blue Jackets had a decent dose of cap space to play with. With only Wennberg and Josh Anderson to sign, they had a projected $12.9 million available.
Columbus will have to sign Boone Jenner, Ryan Murray, Oliver Bjorkstrand, and Markus Nutivaara ahead of the 2018-2019 season and there are some potential unrestricted free agents in the mix, like Cam Atkinson and Jack Johnson. A year after that, the Blue Jackets will have even more to consider with Zach Werenski among those looking for big money.
Obviously, the club had to pace themselves going into the Wennberg contract and they’ve done largely that. The dollar amount is manageable and the player is locked in for good term. For a top line centre in the NHL, this is a sweet deal.