September 26, 2020

Could the Rangers have their answer at center if Columbus buys out Alexander Wennberg

Alexander Wennberg (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

A report coming out of Columbus from Aaron Portzline states the Blue Jackets could be considering a buyout of center, Alexander Wennberg. The 26 year-old Swede trained with Mika Zibanejad and may be a nice 3rd line fit for the Rangers.

The Blue Jackets, according to league sources, appear to be considering a contract buyout of their former first-round draft pick, a player who appeared to be on the cusp of becoming a No. 1 center just three seasons ago. It’s a decision that could save the Blue Jackets $10.7 million over the next three seasons — but only if they act now.

The Athletic

Why buyout Alexander Wennberg?

First and foremost, Wennberg hasn’t exactly thrived offensively under John Tortorella. Let’s face it, some guys absolutely get it under Torts or get run out of town. The other reason is purely financial as Portzline outlines.

Wennberg was 25 years old as of this June — he turned 26 on Tuesday — the buyout, per the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement, would require Columbus to pay only one-third of the money owed him over the remaining three years of his contract. After this summer, a buyout of Wennberg’s contract would cost the team two-thirds of his remaining deal.

It should also be noted that Wennberg and his agent have not been given any indication of a buyout. Just for some perspective, Bobby Ryan didn’t see that happening to him either yesterday.

A fit for the Rangers?

new york rangers rumors
Alexander Wennberg (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The 6’2″ lefty shot center has regressed since his 59 point season in 2016-17. Last year, he only notched 22 points in 57 games. Wennberg did however step up a bit in these playoffs with three goals and 2 assists in 10 games.

At 26, Wennberg does fit the mold of what the Rangers are trying to build. His current cap hit is $4.9 million so if he’s bought out the expectation of the cost would be less.

What can become prohibitive is if there are other teams that will drive up the term. Jeff Gorton would not be comfortable giving a player like Wennberg more than three or four years.

The organization is pretty high on 19 year-old Karl Henriksson in Sweden and want to make sure they will have room for him in two to three years. So if, and that’s a big if, Wennberg gets bought out, the Rangers should seriously investigate. Signing him however will depend on term more than anything else.

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