The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed young star Alexander Wennberg to a contract extension on Friday.
"We are excited to have signed Alexander to a long-term contract through the 2022-23 season," Kekalainen said in a statement announcing Wennberg's extension. "He has shown steady improvement throughout his young NHL career and is coming off a very good 2016-17 campaign. At just 22-years-old, he has tremendous opportunity to become an integral player for our organization for years to come."
Wennberg was drafted 14th overall by the Blue Jackets in 2013. After spending the 2013-14 season with the Swedish Hockey League's Frölunda Hockey Club, he joined the Blue Jackets roster.
The 22-year-old had a breakout season in 2016-17 with career-highs in games played (80), goals (13), assists (46), points (59) and a plus-minus rating of nine.
The Blue Jackets set a franchise record with 50 wins and 108 points last season, making the playoffs for the third time in 16 years before being eliminated in the first round by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
With a talented young core featuring Wennberg, Cam Atkinson and Nick Foligno, the Blue Jackets figure to remain among the Eastern Conference's elite for years to come.