Spending the first six years of his career with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Alexander Wennberg joins the Florida Panthers organization looking for a chance to prove that he is as good as he once was. After several consecutive down seasons while in Ohio, the 26-year old Swedish-born player was in desperate search of a home. Willing and signing a contract with the Florida Panthers, Wennberg has started to look like a 59-point player once again.
Alexander Wennberg Finds a Change of Scenery
Whether you play a professional sport or not, everyone could use a little bit of sand in their toes and sun on their face. In Wennberg’s case, it seems that he needed it more than ever.
Rewinding to the off-season of 2017, Wennberg is coming off an astonishing career-high in games played, goals, assists, and points. During only his third year in the National Hockey League, Wennberg exploded for a remarkable 59 points in 80 games played. With 13 goals and 46 assists, Wennberg was just three points behind Cam Atkinson for the team lead. Wennberg was playing his best hockey yet. Proving so, he even had the privilege of signing another NHL contract in September of that same year. Unfortunately, Wennebergs good fortune had taken a turn for the worse, placed on the Injured Reserve list in late December of 2017. Alex struggled to bounce back after his break-out year.
Moving along, Wennberg has played like two different players during his career. Don’t believe it? Well, considering that in Wennbergs first three seasons, he was at 0.54 points per game; While the following three seasons after that, he dropped to 0.46 points per game. While this is not a massive deficit, the fact that Wennberg exploded while still under his rookie deal turned a lot of heads. So much so that the Blue Jackets gave Wennberg a life-changing six-year deal at $4,900,000 per year. As harsh as it may sound, Wennberg has not played anywhere near that contract. Yet, 15 goals and 92 points over three seasons are not much for a guy who makes almost five million dollars a year to play a game. Even though he has not been the Alex Wennberg of 2016-17, landing himself a new role in Florida has turned things around for him.
Wennberg Rebounding Down in Florida
Since migrating south after being bought out by the Blue Jackets in early October, Wennberg has indeed turned a new leaf with Florida Panthers. Ranking higher than he has in years in many offensive categories, he has turned himself into a proficient depth centre. At the same time, this may not necessarily be where he was projected to end up when drafted initially. Carving out a seven-year NHL career, and still going, is no easy task. Thankfully for Wennberg’s sake, a change in scenery may just have added a few more years onto his career.
Believe it or not, Alexander Wennberg is one of the most productive and efficient forwards on the Panthers roster. He finished the season seventh in points on the team with 29. Wennberg proved that he still had some game left in him, whether it was setting a new career-high in goals with 17, which ranked fifth on the team, or the fact that he was first in shooting percentage with 21 percent. Combining all of these, Wennberg found himself sixth and tenth in Goals For Per 60 and Points Per 60, respectable. At the end of the day, Wennberg was lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time. While the buyout must’ve been a punch straight to the gut, when one door closes, another one opens.
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