How Alex Wennberg will help the Rangers in their quest for the Stanley Cup

The New York Rangers added an intriguing piece to their lineup yesterday when they acquired Alex Wennberg in a trade with the Seattle Kraken.
Feb 10, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Seattle Kraken center Alex Wennberg (21) skates off
Feb 10, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Seattle Kraken center Alex Wennberg (21) skates off / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers made their first ‘buy’ during trade deadline season when they added Alex Wennberg to their already stellar lineup. With just nine goals and 25 points in 2023-24, Wennberg isn’t a high-scoring piece, but he will give the Rangers plenty of help when they don’t have the puck. 

Through 60 games with the Kraken, Wennberg invaded scoring lanes more than he had during his career with 65 blocks, or 1.08 per contest. This comes just one season after he recorded a career-high of 63, and it makes a team that is a remarkable fifth in the league in goals allowed even stronger in the defensive zone. 

Wennberg also loves to steal pucks, evidenced by his 84 takeaways in 82 games last year and 40 so far in 2023-24. Therefore, Rangers fans can count on him to constantly get some sticks on the puck and either create turnovers for himself or initiate a puck battle. 

Alex Wennberg will help the Rangers defensively 

While the 29-year-old center won’t create many goals, he’s also not helping to create many opportunities for goals, given his paltry 47.9 Corsi For at 5-on-5, which has been a career-low across 60 games with the Kraken. But that shouldn’t concern fans too much, as the Kraken did enjoy a 10.2 shooting percentage when Wennberg was on the ice in the same situation, which is ironically a career-high and also the first time it has reached double digits in the category since 2017-18. 

Let’s shift gears back to defense, where Wennberg’s on-ice save percentage at 5-on-5 sat at 92.1 in Seattle. While the Kraken’s overall save percentage sat at 93.1 this year, it’s also clear that judging from Wennberg’s high number, that he was a major reason why Seattle has done a good job with keeping the puck out of the net along with some exceptional goaltending from Joey Daccord. 

Overall, the Rangers landed a center who they can plug and play, and immediately see sound results defensively. This is a team that has allowed just 172 goals this season, or just 2.77 per game, and with Wennberg’s presence, there is a chance that the per game average dips even lower.