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Alexander Wennberg: Prospect Profile for Columbus Blue Jackets' 1st-Round Pick

LAKE PLACID, NY - AUGUST 06: Alexander Wennberg #10 of Team Sweden skates against the USA White Squad at the USA hockey junior evaluation camp at the Lake Placid Olympic Center on August 6, 2012 in Lake Placid, New York. Sweden defeated the USA 5-1.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Tom Urtz Jr.Contributor IJune 30, 2013

Player: Alexander Wennberg

Drafted By: Columbus Blue Jackets (14th overall)

Position: Center

Final Central Scouting Ranking: No. 5 European skater

Height/Weight: 6'1'', 174 lbs

DOB: September 22, 1994 (18 years old)

Most Recent Affiliation: SWE-1, Djurgarden

 

Background

Alexander Wennberg had a strong 2012-13 season that allowed him to improve his final ranking with CSS. After coming in at No. 8 at the midway point, Wennberg ended the year as the No. 5 overall skater amongst Europeans.

Wennberg tallied 32 points in 46 games, and he had a plus-10 rating. He played for Djurgarden of the SWE-1, a second-tier league in Sweden.

Wennberg also represented his homeland during the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship, and he won a silver medal. He scored three points, and it was his second consecutive year representing Sweden internationally.

 

Full Scouting Report

Wennberg isn’t a flashy player, but he has attributes that make him a solid player. He is a hard-working forward who is a smart hockey player. Wennberg uses his frame when possible, and he likes to drive hard to the net.

He is a bit undersized right now, but he doesn’t shy away from physical contact. This will benefit him in the long run because he should gain some weight before he hits his peak. Wennberg is a two-way forward who has great wheels, and his versatility allows him to easily compliment his linemates.

According to Corey Pronman of Hockey Prospectus, Wennberg is a solid player who can continue to improve.

His skating is above average, and some scouts have classified it as high end because of his speed and elusiveness. His offensive instincts stand out; one NHL head scout told me his hockey sense and creativity were strong. He has the puck skills and vision to create scoring chances for himself and others. His defensiveness awareness enables him to kill penalties effectively. His game shows a unique power element, but to succeed in North America with that style, he will have to bulk up. 

Right now Wennberg has potential, but he will need to get stronger to completely actualize it. The difference between a 6'1", 174-pound forward and a 6'1", 204-pound forward is only 20 pounds, but that extra size could make a huge difference in how Wennberg carries himself on the ice.

 

NHL Player Comparison

Jakub Voracek of the Philadelphia Flyers. Wennberg plays a solid two-way game, and he has great offensive instincts that allow him to chip in consistently.


NHL Timetable

Wennberg is already committed to Frolunda of the SEL for 2013-14, and he will likely be ready by the start of the 2014-15 season.

 

Top-End Potential

Wennberg is going to be an above-average second-line center. Right now he is still raw, and he has room for improvement. If he can pack on the pounds, he can be a more dominant player physically, and it will make him tougher to play against. He may end up being a skilled scorer at his current weight, but adding some muscle would add another versatile facet to his game. While he is already a good skater and playmaker, it is too soon to tell how good he could be.

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