Young CBJ Swedes Making An Impression On Everyone
- Updated: February 12, 2016
When you hear the name Ryan Johansen, a range of emotions immediately
follows. We remember the good, with his 2014-2015 season; being the Blue Jackets
number one centerman, an NHL All-Star, and having a career high 71 points by the end
of the season. With the good, we have to remember the bad; the 2015-2016 season
resulted in him being a healthy scratch on multiple occasions, causing tension between
him and head coach John Tortorella. Then, on January 6th, 2016 Ryan Johansen was
traded for defenseman Seth Jones.
The trade for Seth Jones allowed the Blue Jackets fellow centermen to step up to
the plate and make a name for themselves. Alexander Wennberg and William Karlsson
have taken the opportunity to show us what they’ve got. The young Swedes have caught
the eye of not only the fans, but also head coach John Tortorella.
Recently, at a season ticket holder event, a question was asked to Coach Tortorella.
He was asked which player had impressed him the most this season. He didn’t have to
think twice before he said that there hasn’t been one specific player who has stood out to
him, but rather there were two who have improved tremendously throughout the season.
Alexander Wennberg and William Karlsson have shown the skill they possess on
numerous occasions, which have been rewarded in assists and goals. Tortorella then
emphasized that it was more what they would do away from the puck that really stood out
to him. They made plays happen, but would rarely get the credit they deserved.
Tortorella speaking so highly of them, has led to some very obvious changes since
the trade of Johansen. Wennberg has taken a liking to the second line, while Karlsson has
been steadily occupying the third line. The two Swedes have each gained more time on
the ice, Karlsson has found himself permanently on the penalty kill, and Wennberg has
been superb in shootouts.
In the 15 games prior to the Johansen trade, Karlsson saw an average 12:54
minutes on ice, had a face-off average of 42%, and had a +/- ratio of -6. Wennberg saw
around 15:52 minutes a game, face-off average just under 41%, and his +/- ratio was cut
even at 0. However, the 16 games since the trade has boosted those ice times and face-off
wins dramatically. Karlsson is now averaging around 14:44 minutes on the ice, winning
49% of his face-offs, and has a +/- of +1. Wennberg is averaging close to 18:01 minutes
per game, with 45% of his face-offs being won, and now has a +/- of -1.
The Swedes have had some amazing accomplishments this season. William
Karlsson has had two games in which he scored multiple goals. Alexander Wennberg has
had multiple games in which he had three points, and has had two game deciding shootout goals.
At the ages of 21 and 22, we have yet to see what these guys have in their arsenal.
There should be many good years to come for the young Blue Jackets Swedes, sit back an enjoy it.
***Contributed by Jordan Mitchell – Follow Her On Twitter @JMitch010