Both players are again top-six fixtures for Seattle, who have yo-yoed their way in and out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference all season long. They’re pending UFAs with hefty cap hits of $5.5MM and $4.5MM, respectively, but the Kraken have all three salary retention spots open and could keep money on the books for the rest of the season to facilitate a deal if they do intend on selling at the deadline.
The Oilers have already been linked to Eberle in their pursuit of a complementary top-six winger, with Pagnotta reporting another one of his former teams, the Islanders, as well as the Maple Leafs, have demonstrated interest. The Bruins and Avalanche have called about Wennberg, who’s one of the few quality centers remaining on the deadline rental market.
Whether the Kraken will decide to sell off assets at the deadline is an entirely different question. A recent 3-6-1 stretch now has them six points out of playoff position, but there’s still a shot for Seattle to squeak in for their second consecutive playoff appearance. With a quickly aging group still comprised primarily of expansion draft selections, however, they’d likely do well to recoup value for some veterans and retool around Vince Dunn, Matthew Beniers, and Jared McCann.
Eberle would presumably fetch more value than Wennberg, and rightfully so. He’s having a down season in the goals department – just nine in 49 games, but his 28 points are fifth on the team, and he leads all Kraken players in even-strength Corsi share. He’s been their best two-way skater this season – not just forward – and with eight 20-goal seasons under his belt, he carries immense breakout potential if paired with the skill level of a contending team’s top six.
Thus, a reunion with Edmonton makes the most sense out of the three teams listed. There’s no better breakout potential for Eberle at right wing than alongside Leon Draisaitl on the Oilers’ second unit, and he could do wonders for Draisaitl-anchored lines that have struggled defensively without Connor McDavid.
Wennberg is more of a depth add than an impact pickup for a contender – he’s likely not suited for anything above a third-line role on a team with contending aspirations. He has leveraged major minutes since joining Seattle, logging 18:23 per game over the last three seasons.
Like Eberle, he’s struggled on the scoresheet with eight goals and 21 points in 51 games. Unlike Eberle, he’s shooting above his career average and has some of the worst possession metrics on the Kraken – only Brandon Tanev has a worse Corsi share at even strength among full-time members. His expected -3.6 rating is the worst on the team, and he’s won less than 50% of his faceoffs for the 10th time in 10 NHL seasons. As such, he’s likely a complement to the Bruins’ and Avs’ cast of middle-six centers that lack punch, not a significant upgrade. Even at a half-retained $2.25MM cap hit, his disappointing season might be too much to swallow and a third team may need to retain another 50% of his salary to facilitate a trade.