After months of speculation, today the Columbus Blue Jackets made it official: the team has made the move to buy out former first round pick Alexander Wennberg.
The Athletic: Alexander Wennberg will be placed on waivers at noon today by the Blue Jackets, the Athletic has learned, the first step toward buying out the remaining three years of his contract #CBJ https://t.co/w04RPHh7qT— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) October 8, 2020
New subs $1 / mo. pic.twitter.com/BHJ9YslYm7
Wennberg, the 14th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, signed a big six year, $29.4 million deal on September 1, 2017. At the time, Wennberg was coming off a 59 point season that saw him blossom into what the team hoped could be a number one center for a team that had looked for one for over a decade.
Unfortunately, he never hit those highs again.
In the next three years, Wennberg scored just 15 goals and 82 points over 158 games played. It wasn’t just the lack of production: his shot total fell off a cliff, he stopped driving play in the offensive zone, his power play production collapsed, and he was healthy scratched once Matt Duchene arrived in the spring of 2019.
Wennberg never lived up to his contract and, at the cap hit, no team was willing to trade for him. His contract became such a burden that he could not hope to live up to it here, and could not find another suitor in the trade market.
This buyout, however, will save Columbus significant dollars against the cap because of Wennberg’s age:
First #NHL buyout window closes Thurs. at 5pm ET. With no trade takers yet, sense is #CBJ are heading toward buyout with Alex Wennberg. Question is when?— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) October 6, 2020
Wennberg buyout would not only save $10.7 million in real cash, but also make for $4.46 million in cap savings for next 3 yrs
Wennberg will land somewhere on a cheap deal: he has value as a bottom six center and penalty killer but his contract, alongside the trade for Max Domi to take over as second line center, made Wennberg expendable in Columbus.
May Wennberg find success in his next NHL stint, but his time in Columbus has come to an end.