Rangers Acquire Alex Wennberg From Seattle Kraken

Rangers Acquire Alex Wennberg From Seattle Kraken
Mar 2, 2024; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Kraken center Alex Wennberg (21) shoots the puck against the Edmonton Oilers during the second period at Climate Pledge Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Gotta love trade deadline season. One minute nothing seems to be happening the next, five trades go down in the span of two hours. In what became quite a busy day for the NHL, the Rangers officially joined the party, acquiring Alex Wennberg with 50% of his salary retained, from Seattle in exchange for a 2024 2nd round pick and a 2025 4th.

There were already rumors circulating the last day or so linking Wennberg to the Rangers so this trade doesn’t come as much of a surprise. It’s quite obvious one of the team’s biggest needs heading into the trade deadline was a depth center to fill in the void left by the Filip Chytil injury. That being said, the Rangers immediately become a deeper team now that they can use Wennberg as their third line center to deploy Jonny Brodzinski in a more suitable depth role. Not to mention, there’s still plenty of time in the coming days for them to add some more..

Before we talk about that, let’s talk about who Alex Wennberg is. A former 14th overall pick in 2013, Wennberg is a 6”2, 190 lb, left handed centerman who plays a solid two-way game and can be used in a variety of situations. His offense can be quite underwhelming at times but he’s a guy that can make plays, help out defensively, and be useful in a variety of roles, including special teams. After spending six seasons in Columbus after being drafted by the Blue Jackets, Wennberg went on to spend a season with the Florida Panthers before the Seattle Kraken picked him up in the 2021 Expansion Draft.

Throughout his close to 700 games in the NHL, Wennberg has registered a career total of 90 goals and 240 assists. Across the last five seasons, he’s been good for anywhere between 20-40 points per season. In 60 games with the Kraken this year, he’s collected a total of 9 goals and 16 assists for 25 points. On top of which, he brings some playoff experience as he has 42 postseason games played throughout his career in which he’s contributed 7 goals and 10 assists.

Those may not be extraordinary numbers but for a third line center behind Mika Zibanejad and Vincent Trocheck, you can do far worse. If anything, fans should be excited that the team has upgraded and has done so with a player who can bring a little bit of everything to the line-up. Not to mention, they didn’t give up all that much in the process. Whether he plays with Cuylle and Kakko or Cuylle and a right winger later to be acquired, the Rangers are in a much better situation than they were with Goodrow and Vesey playing a third line role.

Here’s one of his goals from early in the season where he established a strong net-front presence and finished on a creative play against the Oilers.

With all that in mind, is this a groundbreaking trade for the Rangers? Not so much, and you have to think that’s quite fair given that by all accounts, Chris Drury seemed to favor Nashville’s Tommy Novak who since became unavailable after signing a three-year extension with the Preds. It’s also fair to assume that this won’t be Chris Drury’s only piece of business as he still has a right wing hole to fill in the team’s top-nine as well as any other potential depth acquisitions.

With Seattle retaining 50% of Wennberg’s salary, the Rangers still have just under $3 million worth of cap space but could have more if they send Adam Edström and/or Matt Rempe back to Hartford. All in all, this is a safe play and a great start for Chris Drury as the pieces begin to fall into place and focus now shifts to what comes next?