2018-19 Season Review: Alexander Wennberg

By Jacob Nitzberg on July 10, 2019 at 1:20 pm
Alexander Wennberg, despite having an incredibly low statistical season, still played in 75 games for the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2018-2019.
Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

It's clear that Alexander Wennberg has the talent to play in the NHL.

But while the talent is there, the results are lacking.

The 2018-19 season marked the second straight season in which Wennberg's goals, points, average time on ice and shooting percentage declined.

He saw playing time on all four lines, as well as the power play and penalty kill. At times, head coach John Tortorella was so discouraged by Wennberg's play that he made him a healthy scratch on multiple occasions, including the Blue Jackets' playoff run.

Wennberg's Year

It wasn't exactly an offensive explosion for the Swedish forward this year. No matter how you cut it, two goals is not enough for most players to even stay in the NHL, let alone play 15 minutes a game on a playoff team.

75 2 23 25 -1 0.8 12 64 0 15:05 50.8 49.0

Wennberg did notch 23 assists on the year, which is a solid number, but it still represents a decline. In 2017-18, he had 27, and in 2016-17 (his best season as a Blue Jacket), he had 46.

So, how has Wennberg's role changed from a number one center two years ago to a fourth liner who is sometimes scratched?

The answer lies in confidence. What Wennberg displayed during 2016-17 and parts of 2017-18 was a willingness to be physically aggressive and shoot the puck when given the opportunity. These two qualities made opponents respect Wennberg's shooting abilities, creating passing lanes to other forwards on the ice that helped Wennberg's best attributes tremendously — his vision and passing.

The Blue Jackets didn't really see "that" Wennberg in the 2018-19 season. Most of the time, he appeared to be a shadow of his former self.

Highlight of the Campaign

The best moment of Wennberg's season came in November against the New York Rangers, when he took a pass from Cam Atkinson and scored off of the rush while shorthanded to snap a 3-3 tie.


Wennberg is signed through the 2022-23 season with an AAV (average annual value) of $4.9 million. The contract was signed after Wennberg's best season in a Blue Jackets uniform, and he has yet to live up to the trust that the Blue Jackets' front office placed in him with a six-year, $29.4 million-dollar deal.

The good news for Wennberg is that the opportunity for big minutes will be there, with C Matt Duchene departing. Pierre-Luc Dubois has all but solidified the number one center spot, but the rest of the lines are up in the air. 

The opportunity is there for the taking. Can Wennberg step up and remind Blue Jackets' ownership and fans why they had so much faith in him at one point in time?

Grade D+

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