2013 Draft Prospect Profile #18: Alexander Wennberg

Our next profile features Alexander Wennberg, who could slip under the radar enough to be a first-round steal.

Alexander Wennberg

Position: Center / Left Wing / Right Wing
Team: Djurgarden (Allsvenskan)
Age: 18
Date of Birth: September 22, 1994
Place of Birth: Nacka, Sweden
Ht: 6'1" Wt: 183lbs
Shoots: Left

Wennberg is an all-around forward. Not only does he play any forward position, he's also reliable in all three zones- he is creative offensively, and is responsible in the defensive zone.

He's one of the biggest unknowns for me this year. Not because of a lack of visibility, but rather because I'm unsure where to slot him in the first round. After the elite forwards are taken (MacKinnon, Drouin, Nichushkin, Barkov) there seems to be groupings among the remaining forwards- the next tier of scorers (Monahan, Shinkaruk, Lindholm, Zykov, Domi, Horvat, Mantha) the grinders-with-offense (Rychel, Hartman, Lazar) and then you have Wennberg. (Frederik Gauthier is in a similar position as Wennberg, truth be told).

If a team is looking for a player who can anchor a defensive line, with the ability to moonlight on a scoring line, Wennberg is the guy. That said, it's so hard to gauge what his production will be in North America. There's a very good chance he could follow a similar path to Washington's Marcus Johansson.

Scouting Reports:

An excellent skater, Wennberg is able to create and open up lanes with his quick, easy stride. His awareness both with and without the puck and ability to shoot the puck make him dangerous offensively.
- Future ConsiderationsWennberg's development has been trending upward over the past year. By midseason, he was playing significant minutes in the SEL-2 pro league, and did not appear out of place for an 18-year-old in that role. He is a versatile player, capable of lining up at all three forward positions. One NHL executive described him as really hard to knock. His skating is above average, and some scouts have classified it as high end because of his speed and elusiveness. His offensive instincts stand out; one NHL head scout told me his hockey sense and creativity were strong. He has the puck skills and vision to create scoring chances for himself and others. His defensiveness awareness enables him to kill penalties effectively. His game shows a unique power element, but to succeed in North America with that style, he will have to bulk up.
- Hockey Prospectus

Prototypical Swedish forward who plays strong all-around and steps his game up when the play ratchets up. Can play all three forward positions, and his experience as a centre has made him an extremely well schooled defensive player. Is good on the tip-in, and he will be in the high traffic areas looking for them and rebounds. He has great hands and instincts to go with them. Excellent backhand passer. Have an excellent feel for how things develop in the attack zone. Simply a very good offensive zone passer whose work brings chances. He plays like he is bigger than his stature, beating defenders and getting to the opening space.
- Bill Placzek, Draft Site

Can play all three forward positions. Excellent skater who has a free and easy stride with excellent quickness and a change of pace is capable of keeping defenders on their heels. He can open up ice and space for himself with his skating. In traffic, he has the ability to 'slice' through tight areas and with very good balance, can be difficult to deter. Very smart with and without the puck and he is quick to see opportunity in all areas to take advantage. Good puck skills and can make plays, can shoot, can hold puck and isn't a 'one-trick' pony. He competes and will battle in every situation.
- Craig Button, TSN

Why he'd be a good fit in Columbus:

The Jackets don't have a history of drafting Swedes with their high picks, but that could change under new GM Jarmo Kekalainen. The Jackets need offense, so if they keep their picks I'm thinking they draft for high-end offensive skill, and perhaps add to the defensive depth. While Wennberg's two-way play would be welcome on any NHL roster, the Jackets can afford to be picky, and go after exactly what they desire. Boone Jenner and Michael Chaput would be direct competition for Wennberg should he become a Blue Jacket on draft day.

Wennberg in Action:

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