Why Gustav Nyquist Could Jump-Start Alexander Wennberg’s Production

By Ben Jandrain on September 6, 2019 at 8:05 am
Columbus Blue Jackets forward Alexander Wennberg controls the puck during a regular-season matchup against the Washington Capitals in February of 2018 at Capital One Arena.

There may be no bigger question mark than what to expect from Alexander Wennberg with less than a month until regular-season action is underway for the Blue Jackets.

Earlier this week, in an interview with The Athletic's Aaron Portzline, Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella indicated he plans to start newly-signed forward Gustav Nyquist on a line with struggling center (and countryman) Alexander Wennberg – which represents a huge opportunity for Wennberg to get his career back on track.

The decision to put Wennberg on the same line as Nyquist could instill some confidence for the former 59-point center–a department that seems to be lacking the past couple of years. Nyquist was believed by many to be the left winger on the top line with center Pierre-Luc Dubois and right wing Cam Atkinson.

Season G A PTS
2016-17 13 46 59
2017-18 8 27 35
2018-19 2 23 25

Wennberg only scored two goals in 75 games this past season(as seen in the graphic above), none of which came while the team was playing at full strength.  The addition of Nyquist, an experienced playmaking forward who's coming off a year with 38 assists, will put an even larger onus on Wennberg to start finding the back of the net again.  If he doesn't respond accordingly, Tortorella will have to find someone to take his spor in the lineup (again).        

The Wennberg-Nyquist combination also adds some camaraderie to the equation, as Nyquist and Wennberg are the only two Swedish players on the current roster.  

Whether or not the move to put these two players together on a line works out, there's no doubt this team has a different feel to it–an aspect that might actually be a good thing for Wennberg, who's underperformed as of late, especially when considering his AAV (average annual value) of $4.9 million this coming season.  

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