Kraken sign centre Alexander Wennberg to three-year deal

Florida Panthers forward Frank Vatrano, middle, celebrates a goal with defenceman Anton Stralman (6) and centre Alex Wennberg (21) in Sunrise, Fla. (Lynne Sladky/AP)

The Seattle Kraken continued filling out their inaugural roster by signing centre Alexander Wennberg to a three-year, $13.5-million contract on the opening day of free agency Wednesday.

Wennberg recorded a career-high 17 goals in a shortened season with the Florida Panthers in 2020-21 after having the remainder of his previous contract bought out by the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Swede’s possession metrics have declined in four consecutive seasons and he has been less than stellar in the faceoff circle but will be counted on to produce in a top-six or middle-six role in Seattle.

“Alexander is coming off of his best goal-scoring season to date and gives us an offensive-minded centre down the middle,” Kraken general manager Ron Francis said. “He’s still young and we think he has room to grow even further as he has taken large strides in each of his last few seasons. We like his combination of size and skill and think he will fit well with our group.”

Wennberg will be 27 at the start of next season.

Francis and the Kraken had a busy Wednesday, also inking goalie Philipp Grubauer to a six-year deal and forward Jaden Schwartz to a five-year contract.

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