Seattle Kraken Roll Call is assessing every player who held a significant place in the fortunes of the 2022-23 Kraken season. We’ll be looking at the highs and lows they experienced during the last campaign, as well as what the future may hold for them in Seattle. Today we feature 28-year-old center Alexander Wennberg.
Position: Lefty center.
2022-’23 Kraken totals (GP-G-A-P): 82-13-25-38, 20 PIM
Contract Status: Wennberg enters the final season of a three-year deal that will pay him $4.5-million. He has a modified no-trade clause which allows him to submit a 10-team no-trade list.
Seattle Kraken Season Synopsis
Consistency is a word that comes to mind when one thinks of Alexander Wennberg. What he lacked in that department in the first half of the season in terms of engagement and puck battle, he started to exercise in the second half.
One way in which Wennberg fit the consistency bill for the Kraken: He showed up for all 82 games, one of five Seattle players, three of them forwards, to play in every regular season match. Despite decent size, 6-foot-2 and almost 200-pounds, he’s not a physical player. Wennberg delivered just 39 hits all season and received twice as many. Conversely, his takeaways dramatically outnumbered his giveaways.
Thus, he’s a bit of an enigma, defensively responsible with positive shot possession numbers, but needing to show more off the counter-attack. It’s where the eye-test trumps the math, because the math doesn’t take into effect all of the intangible characteristics a player possesses. He’s not always pretty to watch.
Highs And Lows
Wennberg’s line often faced difficult match-ups. This is simply a result of roster make-up and the Kraken’s lack of superstar talent, the likes of which are often found stacked in the top-six forward units of the opposition.
Offensively, one would like to see more from a second line when healthy.
Wennberg started last season with just three points over the first nine games. He followed that up with five points over the next five, then pointless in the next six. That’s kind of how it went the rest of the way; four or five games with a smattering, then four or five high and dry, alternating.
The Stockholm, Sweden native is a special teams presence. Part of the 2nd power play unit, he ended up with four goals and nine points on the man advantage for a Kraken PP that finished 21st in the NHL with a 19.8% success rate. The penalty kill also finished 21st, at 76.7%.
Again, upgrades are on the holiday wish list, a list that will grow over the next ten months. To date, there’s nothing wrong with GM Ron Francis’s pragmatic approach to franchise building. It’s a process, but at some point the forward unit will need a talent boost. It’s necessary, even for a club that relies effectively on a team-first, depth-scoring approach.
What The Future Holds
Fans should be optimistic about Wennberg’s upcoming season because it’s a contract year. That’s not cynicism or anything personal, it’s simply a fact that NHL players often have big years, many times their biggest, when they’re heading into that last large contract summer of their careers. He’s 28-years-old. Bingo.
Without that dynamic, this is a position, 2nd-line center, the Kraken need to improve on. In a perfect world 2022 4th-overall NHL Draft pick Shane Wright would be ready to step in. Apparently he’s not. If it’s going to be awhile, they’ll be looking elsewhere.
Maybe Wennberg takes huge steps. He needs to be more consistently engaged physically and mentally from start to finish. We think he will be.
Recent Kraken Roll Calls:
— Seattle Kraken Roll Call: Jamie Oleksiak
— Seattle Kraken Roll Call: Matty Beniers
— Seattle Kraken Roll Call: Philipp Grubauer