The Columbus Blue Jackets picked centerman Alexander Wennberg as their first draft pick last year, making him the 14th overall pick of the 2013 NHL Draft. He played in the Swedish Hockey League this season, scoring 21 points in 50 games with the Frolunda HC. Today, Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen announced they have signed Wennberg to a three-year, entry-level contract.
Wennberg scored 16 goals with Frolunda this season, placing him second on the roster behind right-wing Magnus Kahnberg who netted 18. he added five assists to that, bringing his season number to 21 points, seventh on his team.He only had 8 penalty minutes in his 50 games this year, and ended the season being -5.
The 29-year-old’s play in his first year in the Swedish Hockey League was good enough to make him a finalist for the league’s Rookie of the Year award, and now he has signed his first NHL contract, a three-year deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Wennberg will join fellow draft picks Kerby Rychel and Marko Dano at this year’s development camp, and will either play for the Springfield Falcons or the Jackets next season. All three 19-year-olds will be given the chance to come to development camp and show the Jackets staff what they can bring. After that, it will be decided whether they make the CBJ roster or play in Springfield.
Either way, this is a good sign for the Blue Jackets and their fans. They have now signed all three of last-year’s draft picks to entry-level contracts, which means they are officially part of the organization. Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen has been touted as one of the best when it comes to young talent and draft picks, and last year he got to show off that skill in selecting the Jackets picks in the draft. A year later, they are all signed with the organization, and hopefully will be making a difference for the Jackets in the years to come.
It remains to be seen if Alexander Wennberg or his fellow draft picks can make the roster this year, but they’ll certainly have the chance at development camp. They’ll be looking to follow in the steps of the Ryans, Murray and Johansen, who both made the Jackets roster at age 18. All that is certain now, however, is that this year’s development camp is looking to be one of the best in Jackets’ history. As they’ve been saying since the Playoffs ended, this is only the beginning.