UPDATE: Alexander Wennberg signed a one-year contract with the Florida Panthers worth a reported $2.25 million (per TSN's Darren Dreger). He reunites with Markus Nutivaara and new Panthers GM Bill Zito, who had been with the Blue Jackets since Wennberg was drafted in 2013.
Alexander Wennberg's career as a Columbus Blue Jacket is over.
The Blue Jackets placed the center on unconditional waivers Thursday, effectively beginning the process to buy Wennberg out of his contract with Columbus, which has three years remaining.
Because he's 25, Wennberg will be due roughly one-third of his remaining $16.05M salary on his contract, $5,350,000 paid out in $891,667 installments over the next six seasons. On the cap side, Wennberg will go on the books as a hit of just $441,667 over the next three seasons, freeing up important money in the age of COVID-19.
"I wish Alex the best of luck and thank him for his contributions, both on and off the ice, to the Columbus Blue Jackets over the past seven years," Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekelainen said in a statement accompanying the move. "Decisions like this are never easy, but we believe it is in the best interest of our club at this time."
A first-round selection by the Blue Jackets in 2013, Wennberg had a career year in 2016-17, finishing with 13-46-59 in 80 games, but fell off a bit the following year as he battled injuries. He suffered a vicious hit from Washington's Tom Wilson in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs and had trouble regaining his footing with the Jackets in the two years that followed, finishing with just seven goals in his final 132 regular-season games as a Blue Jacket.
The acquisition of Max Domi in a trade with Montreal earlier in the week added much-needed depth at center for the Blue Jackets, and made the move to place Wennberg on waivers the next play in Kekalainen's plan to help his team turn the corner from a postseason regular to a club that can do serious damage in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
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