Fantasy Take: Florida says, “Wennberg, right ahead!”

Michael Clifford

2020-10-09

It was a matter of where he'd end up and for how long, not if he'd be in the NHL, and Alex Wennberg is heading to Florida on a one-year deal with a $2.25M AAV. This comes following his buyout in Columbus earlier in the week. Let’s break down what it means for the Panthers.

 

What Florida gets

Wennberg, offensively speaking, is a playmaker. His shot rate at 5-on-5 over the last three years is in the 10th percentile. There's a reason he managed 10 goals once in his six Columbus seasons. He doesn't shoot, he doesn't score, he doesn't hit, and he doesn't block shots. Fantasy-wise, all Wennberg brings is assists and power-play points, should he get to a power-play unit.

But he is a wonderful playmaker, so his impact is less about him and more about what he can do for others. From 2016 through 2019, the Jackets averaged 2.6 goals per 60 minutes. With Wennberg on the ice, they averaged 2.78, and keep in mind that 2.6 number is inflated by Artemi Panarin. Without him around, it would have been a lot lower, and Wennberg's on-ice goal rate would stand out even more. The team either scored more or had a higher expected goals rate with him on the ice with guys like Nick Foligno, Anthony Duclair, and Oliver Bjorkstrand than when they were on the ice without him. His passing leads to goals and that's very important for his line mates. He's also fine defensively.

Notice I left 2019-20 out because, well, it was a bad year. His shot assist rate went down and his on-ice numbers were in the tank. There's a reason he was bought out.

But that’s just one year and Wennberg is st