New Florida Panthers GM Bill Zito continues to collect players from his previous team, the Columbus Blue Jackets. After trading for Markus Nutivaara yesterday, the Panthers have now signed Alexander Wennberg, who was bought out by the Blue Jackets. TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that it is a one-year deal worth $2.25MM.
Wennberg, 26, is signing a “show me” deal in an effort to rehabilitate his value on a one-year deal in hopes of cashing in next off-season. Wennberg never lived up to the six-year, $29.4MM deal he signed in Columbus following a breakout 59-point season in 2016-17. He has recorded declining point totals in each of the past three seasons and looked more like a 20-30 point player rather than a 60+ point player. With the Blue Jackets looking to make major improvement to their roster, they opted to buyout the remaining three years of Wennberg’s contract rather than continuing to pay him to under-produce.
No one outside of Columbus knows Wennberg’s true potential better than Zito, who appears happy to give the young forward a second chance. Florida could lose free agents Mike Hoffman and Evgenii Dadonov and will need to find offense elsewhere. A change of scenery and an increased role could be all it takes to get Wennberg to display his star power once again.