Columbus Blue Jackets: Alexander Wennberg’s Big Pay Day

PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 14: Alexander Wennberg
PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 14: Alexander Wennberg /

According to reports, the Columbus Blue Jackets and center Alexander Wennberg haven’t made much progress with contract negotiations this offseason.

After increasing his value in each of his past three seasons, Alexander Wennberg remains a restricted free agent. It would be surprising if Wennberg and the Columbus Blue Jackets don’t reach a deal in the near future, so don’t be too worried.

Since the two sides have, reportedly, not made much progress, it probably means Wennberg wants number one center-type money.

The Blue Jackets are feeling stuck in this situation. Wennberg has grown in each of his three NHL seasons, but they can never be too sure. Large contracts hold franchises back in all sports if the player doesn’t pan out.

Examining the cap situation

According to CapFriendly, the current amount of cap space the Columbus Blue Jackets have is just under $13 million.

The only major RFA’s the Blue Jackets have are Wennberg and Josh Anderson. This leaves a good amount of cap space to be used on Wennberg.

Related Story: Anderson Deal Hinges on Others

What will the contract look like?

Wennberg and his negotiating team would ideally like to see a long term contract. A term of six years and an AAV over $3.75 would be nice for that. But I don’t expect that to be the case.

Expect Wennberg and the Blue Jackets to agree to a bridge deal with a cap hit of at least $4.5 million per year.

Wennberg has made tremendous statistical improvements as an NHL-er thus far. Since he’s shown the potential to be a key player for years to come, he’ll likely receive a deal close to what he wants.

Mark Sheig‘s prediction of 3 years and an AAV $4.33 million wouldn’t be a bad deal for both sides. Especially since Columbus recently added Artemi Panarin, Wennberg is going to put up some numbers. I think it will be closer to $5 million AAV.

Next: Blue Jackets Draft Profile: Jonathan Davidsson

The Blue Jackets would still have about $9 million left in cap space left if this deal took place. With more young players who will require significant contracts coming in the next few years, a deal like this for Wennberg is about as much as the Columbus Blue Jackets can do.