Geek of the Week: Alexander Wennberg

by Scott Maran on November 13, 2016

Is Alexander Wennberg the real deal, or will he leave you wanting more?

We’re still relatively early into the NHL season and with that comes hot starts from players you wouldn’t expect. From somewhat out of nowhere, Alexander Wennberg has burst onto the scene with 15 points in only 13 games. Tied for the 16th most points in the league with Evgeni Malkin, Wennberg has been a top point producer early this year and is enjoying a great start. However, he may not provide as much value as you think in your fantasy hockey league.

Drafted 14th overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2013 draft, Wennberg developed in the Swedish hockey leagues before coming to North America, playing in the SHL for Frölunda HC. Leading all junior-aged players in goals in the SHL the year after he was drafted, he soon took his talents to the NHL. Playing in 68 games for the Blue Jackets, Wennberg tallied four goals and 16 assists in his rookie campaign. In the following season, Wennberg would double his output by scoring eight goals and 32 assists in 69 games.

Wennberg has the pedigree and the offensive abilities, but what especially helped facilitate this surge in scoring this year was the movement of Ryan Johansen. After the Blue Jackets traded Johansen to the Nashville Predators for defenseman Seth Jones, there was a gaping hole in the depth chart for a number one center. So now Wennberg is getting tons of quality minutes. Last year, in the 29 games Wennberg played in with Johansen, he only scored three goals and 11 assists for 14 total points. However, once Johansen was traded, Wennberg upped his production to 27 points in 41 games, significantly better than his previous pace.

However, despite the high point totals, Wennberg doesn’t bring nearly as much value to fantasy hockey as he does in the NHL. Using the Fantasy Hockey Geek tool, we can see what Wennberg’s value is and how he is contributing to fantasy hockey teams. First we’ll being using an average 12-team H2H Yahoo league measuring G, A, PPP, SOG, Hits, W, SV%, GAA, and SO with Dobber’s projections.
 

 

FHG Rank

GP

G

A

SOG

PPP

Hits

Phil Kessel

32

14

3

10

31

9

2

Nick Foligno

33

12

5

8

16

6

18

Alexander Wennberg

34

12

1

13

14

8

15

Brad Marchand

35

14

5

10

30

3

10


Now, 34th overall isn’t bad at all, especially when considering that Wennberg was drafted on average 332nd overall in Fantrax leagues. Wennberg does provide value but there are several parts of his game that are a cause for concern. For instance, most of his point production is rooted in assists, to the point where he only has two goals. That’s 87% of his production that comes from assists! For fantasy leagues where goals are worth more or there are more goal-specific categories (like game-winning goals or power-play goals), Wennberg won’t contribute as much value. In a league where power-play goals and game-winning goals are counted instead of power-play points, Wennberg only has the 173rd most value.
 

 

FHG Value

GP

G

A

SOG

GWG

PPG

Hits

Micheal Ferland

172

15

2

4

23

0

0

34

Alexander Wennberg

173

12

1

13

14

0

0

15

Anton Stralman

174

14

0

6

20

0

0

15


Also, his peripherals significantly decrease his value. Out of all forwards who have played at least 10 games, Wennberg’s 14 shots are only the 277th most in the entire league! And that’s with just forwards. When you include defensemen, that number drops to 385th overall. Most leagues account for shots on goal, and averaging just 1.16 shots per game isn’t even Sedin-level bad. And the same thing goes for hits. With only 15 hits in 12 games, Wennberg won’t contribute much else except for assists and power-play points.

But the main problem is that it will be tough for Wennberg to keep racking up these assists. He’s a good player, but there’s a good chance he isn’t point-per-game-player good. Also adding to the problem is the amount of secondary assists Wennberg has recorded. Scoring nine secondary assists compared to only four primary assists, it’s likely that Wennberg will struggle to maintain this pace throughout the year. Compare that to a proven star like Ryan Getzlaf, who has one goal and 12 assists in 12 games. In contrast to Wennberg’s high secondary assist totals, Getzlaf only has four secondary assists but eight primary assists.

Alexander Wennberg is a good player and has provided good value so far, but it’s unlikely to continue. Besides his low peripherals, it’s unlikely he continues scoring assists at a similar rate for the rest of the year. Don’t expect him to keep up this pace and it might be dangerous to rely on him as a key supporter for your fantasy team.

To identify more players with great value in your specific league settings, check out Fantasy Hockey Geek to generate custom rankings tailored for you. With the Season Toolkit, you can use our advanced tools to manage to the top and take down the title. Head to the Dobber Sports Shop and pick it up today!