Rangers acquire Alex Wennberg from Kraken, fill need at center

Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers filled one of their biggest lineup needs ahead of the NHL trade deadline, acquiring Alex Wennberg from the Seattle Kraken on Wednesday. The Kraken will retain 50 percent of Wennberg’s $4.5 million salary and receive a 2024 second-round draft pick and a conditional 2025 fourth-round pick from the Rangers.

Wennberg can be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

The 29-year-old was one of the top centers available on the market, especially after Elias Lindholm, Sean Monahan, Adam Henrique and Casey Mittelstadt were traded before him.

The Kraken have been seriously weighing offers for Wennberg all week. Wennberg was held out of their past two games because of “trade-related issues.”

Related: Rangers unlikely to land Jake Guentzel ahead of trade deadline

Rangers acquire Alex Wennberg to fill need at center with Filip Chytil out for season

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

Wennberg will slot on to the third line, playing behind New York’s top two centers, Mika Zibanejad and Vincent Trocheck. He has nine goals and 25 points in 60 games this season, averaging an NHL career-high 18:49 in ice time.

The No. 14 overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets, Wennberg has developed over his 10 NHL seasons into a solid two-way center, one with good size (6-foot-2, 190 pounds) and defensive smarts.

He hasn’t been a big point producer, especially in recent seasons. Wennberg had an NHL career-best 59 points (13 goals, 46 assists) in 80 games with Columbus in 2016-17, but never managed more than 38 points since with the Blue Jackets and Kraken.

Wennberg is not great in the face-off circle. He’s winning 46.7 percent of his face-offs this season, in line with his career 46.2 percent. The Rangers are fifth in the League this season with a 52.8 percent face-off win rate.

New York was in need of help at the center position after Filip Chytil played only 10 games and will miss the rest of the season with an upper-body injury, believed to be a concussion.

Jonny Brodzinski has been the 3C much of the season for the Rangers. He’s provided a lot of energy to go along with 15 points (four goals, 11 assists) in 43 games. Brodzinski’s gone seven games without a point and 10 without a goal and could fill a role as a wing on the third line or at center or wing on the fourth line.

Jim Cerny is Executive Editor at Forever Blueshirts and Managing Editor at Sportsnaut, with more than 30 years of... More about Jim Cerny

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