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NY Rangers Add C Alex Wennberg As NHL Trade Action Pops Off

 

 

Listen, there's been a lot of much more fun trades popping off but as a Rangers fan, none of them concern me. Most have been Western Conference teams loading up and that's only gonna matter if the Blueshirts play for the Cup. Florida bolstering their squad with Tarasenko also doesn't worry me as that matchup likely wouldn't happen until the ECF and the Cats would be a handful regardless of Vlad. The only moves that move my needle are what the Rangers and others in the East do to separate themselves. Alex Wennberg isn't a "holy shit" acquisition, but he strengthens New York up the middle & makes New York a tougher team to play against. Rumored teams around his name included Colorado and Boston so clearly his services were sought after by respected clubs that know how to win. He now belongs to the Blueshirts.

If you wanna know the type of player Wennberg is, don't bother looking at his point totals. Although he's got some playmaking ability, he's never been someone to "light it up". Still, he could mesh well as the pivot on a third line with the shoot-first Cuylle and Kaapo Kakko (assuming the inevitable RW1 trade that pushes him back down the lineup) for some secondary offense. That trio's role though won't be piling up the points. It'll be to form a reliable, responsible checking line Laviolette can deploy in tough situations to free up easier ice time for his top six...and that's right up Wennberg's wheelhouse. He's a great skater who isn't gonna throw a ton of hits but will throw himself in front of as many pucks as you can expect from any forward. He's got that "hockey IQ", a good stick defensively & doesn't give the puck away. The type of player who will rarely hurt his team making a bonehead play and instead almost always makes the right one.

Wennberg has a good amount of playoff experience and comes from Seattle where he played a 2C role that was probably a little over his head. He led all Kraken in ice time (almost 19 minutes - a career high), served as the team's go-to faceoff guy & played on the top unit for both special teams. The Rangers won't task him with as much responsibility as he's used to, but he's capable of defending the opposition's best in all situations. There's no reason to think he can't thrive in a role where his job will be less about creating offense and more about eating smart, sound minutes focused on defense and puck possession. He makes the team as a whole a little more matchup-proof while also serving as an insurance policy for an injury to Trocheck or Zibanejad. Not the ideal scenario but certainly better than the alternatives without him.

With Seattle eating 50% of Wennberg's cap hit, that leaves Chris Drury with somewhere between $3M-$4M to play with in his pursuit of a RW1 to ride alongside Zibanejad & Kreider. Business isn't done, and still armed with their first rounder means the Rangers are still in the mix for everyone from Duclair to Zucker to Vatrano to Guentzel. Stay tuned...

VIVA LA BLUESHIRTS!!!