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Blue Jackets lock up Alexander Wennberg with six-year, $29.4 million deal

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A steal for the Swede. Now what about Anderson?

NHL: Nashville Predators at Columbus Blue Jackets Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that’s done. Columbus re-signed center Alexander Wennberg to a six-year, $29.4 million dollar contract today, locking up the team’s premier center until he’s 28 years old.

It was the opinion of this blog that Jackets fans should not panic, and a few hours later general manager Jarmo Kekäläinen delivered the goods. Having Wennberg under contract until 2022-23 for $4.9 million average annual value is an absolute steal.

Via Aaron Portzline:

The deal carries a $4.9 million salary cap through the 2022-23 season. Wennberg, 22, will make $3.5 million this season, $4.5 million in 2018-19 and $5.35 million in the final four years of the contract.

Wennberg, who in 2016-17 posted career-bests of 13 goals and 46 assists in his third season, will anchor the Jackets’ top line for years to come. Management expects the Swede to jell with recent acquisition Artemi Panarin and fuel an improved offense for a team that hopes to contend for a Stanley Cup sooner rather than later.

Fans grumbled about Wennberg’s apparent aversion to shooting and low goal totals early in his career (guilty), but he made a huge jump last season as his ice time increased by two and a half minutes per night.

Seriously: This deal is incredible. Getting your franchise center to commit for the next six years, keeping him under five million a season and he’s only 22 years old? Can’t think many of the CBJ faithful can complain about this one. Sure, long deals carry their own set of dangers, but Wennberg seems as safe a gamble as they come.

Now there’s only Josh Anderson left. The Jackets have $7.98 million in available cap space, per CapFriendly. Not a bad place to be on the eve of training camp and with only one restricted free agent to go.