Get to know newest Rangers center Alexander Wennberg

Credit: Jason Mowry-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, Mar. 6, two days ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline, the New York Rangers acquired center Alexander Wennberg at 50% salary retention from the Seattle Kraken in exchange for a 2024 second-round and a conditional 2025 fourth-round draft pick.

The Rangers needed a talented center to replace Filip Chytil, whose season ended on Jan. 28 when he was shut down with an upper-body injury. Wennberg will be a great addition to the bottom six with 25 points in 60 games.

“This is what the Rangers need,” said Jim Cerny on the latest Forever Blueshirts Show. “He’s a solid veteran two-way center.”

Related: Can the Rangers reunite with Pavel Buchnevich?

5 Interesting Facts about Alexander Wennberg

NHL: Seattle Kraken at Buffalo Sabres
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

When he pulls on a Rangers sweater for the first time, he’ll be the team’s ninth-highest scorer in 2023-24, with one more point than K’Andre Miller (24 points) and one behind fellow Swede Erik Gustafsson (26 points).

Although New York fans may remember Wennberg from his days with the Columbus Blue Jackets, where he skated with Artemi Panarin, everyone should know a few interesting things about the latest addition to the Rangers’ lineup.

Wennberg will be New York’s 45th Swedish-born player

Wennberg was born on Sept. 22, 1994, in Stockholm, Sweden. He is 16 months younger than Mika Zibanejad, the Rangers’ all-time leading scorer from the Nordic country. Wennberg’s debut on Broadway will mark the first time the duo skates together since the 2013 U20 World Junior Championships in Ufa, Russia.

The Rangers have employed 44 Swedish-born players, with 17 skating over 100 games and 11 reaching 100 points. Wennberg has played 693 games and scored 90 goals with 240 assists for 330 points, which ranks 63rd overall amongst skaters from Sweden.

Wennberg’s favorite opposing goalie is Andrei Vasilevskiy

On Dec. 22, 2014, Wennberg scored his first NHL goal on Pekka Rinne. After 693 games, Wennberg has scored a penalty shot (Feb. 16, 2016) and two hat tricks (Apr. 3, 2021, and May 8, 2021), beating 53 different goalies in his career. Although he’s never lit the lamp on Igor Shesterkin, he has two goals against Jonathan Quick and four on franchise icon Henrik Lundqvist.

However, Wennberg’s favorite opposing goalie to play (six goals) is a Rangers’ rival, Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning. While skating with the Blue Jackets, he netted his first in 2016 before collecting five during the single season he played with the Florida Panthers in 2020-21.

Wennberg is a three-time silver medalist in World Junior competitions

In 2010, Wennberg joined the Djurgårdens IF J18 program in his hometown of Stockholm, suiting up for some games with the J18 Allsvenska team, too. After earning a promotion through the program, dressing with the J20 SuperElit team in 2011-12, he eventually got called to the Djurgårdens IF team in HockeyAllsvenskan, Sweden’s top junior league.

That year, Wennberg made his international debut, winning a silver medal at the U18 World Junior Championships in the Czech Republic. The following season, he was selected for the U20 team, winning another silver medal in Ufa, Russia. In 2013, He finished his junior career as an alternate captain on the U20 team that won silver on home ice in Malmö, Sweden, getting voted Sweden’s Junior Hockey Player of the Year (Årets Junior).

As a senior-level player with Team Sweden, Wennberg has collected 18 points in 14 games at the 2016 and 2019 World Championships, where Tre Kronor finished sixth and fifth, respectively.

Wennberg is cousins with Simon Johansson and Anton Johansson

At the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, the Blue Jackets selected Wennberg with the 14th overall pick. He was the second Swedish player taken in the draft after the Carolina Hurricanes selected Elias Lindholm with the fifth overall pick. Considering he was ranked the fifth-best European-born skater, he ended up as the fifth player chosen from outside of North America.

Wennberg is the 11th highest-scorer from his draft class, with Nathan MacKinnon and Aleksander Barkov at the top. Interestingly, he has two cousins, Simon Johnsson and his brother Anton Johansson, who are prospects for the Minnesota Wild (148th overall, 2018 draft) and Detroit Red Wings (105th overall, 2022 draft). Neither has yet to make their NHL debuts, with Simon playing in the AHL and Anton in the SHL for 2023-24.

Wennberg has yet to score against the San Jose Sharks, Ottawa Senators, and Seattle Kraken

The Kraken acquired Wennberg on July 28, 2021, as one of their first-ever free-agent signings. Since he has played with the club for the past two and half seasons, he has yet to have the opportunity to score against them. The Swedish forward has collected a goal against 29 of the 32 teams, excluding the Ottawa Senators (seven assists), San Jose Sharks (five assists), and Kraken.

After 10 seasons, his favorite opponents are the Chicago Blackhawks (16 points), Boston Bruins (15 points), and Edmonton Oilers (15 points). Thanks to a career points-per-game average of 0.476, he’s spread out his offensive production, earning a best 52 points in games played in November, January, and March.

According to Stathead.com, Wennberg scored his 26th and 27th career goals thanks to assists from Panarin in October and December 2017, when the pair skated together for two seasons in Columbus from 2017 to 2019.

Although Ryan Gagne grew up in New England and is a Boston Bruins fan, some of his all-time favorite... More about Ryan Gagne

Mentioned in this article:

More About: