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The Florida Blue Jackets: Panthers sign center Alexander Wennberg

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Alexander wennberg florida panthers
New York Rangers Center Ryan Strome (16) and Columbus Blue Jackets Center Alexander Wennberg (10) vie for the puck behind the Rangers net during a regular season NHL game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the New York Rangers on January 19, 2020, at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY. (Photo by David Hahn/Icon Sportswire)

The Florida Panthers transformation into a southern outpost of the Columbus Blue Jackets continued Friday as the team signed center Alexander Wennberg to a one-year deal.

Wennberg, 26, was bought out by the Blue Jackets on Thursday — the same day Florida acquired defenseman Markus Nutivaara in a trade with the Blue Jackets.

The Panthers hope getting Wennberg on a prove-it deal will get him going again.

Columbus had big expectations for Wennberg after he scored 13 goals with 59 points in 2016-17.

That offseason, the Jackets signed ‘Wenny’ to a six-year contract worth $29.4 million.

The final three years of that contract were bought out Thursday and the Panthers snagged him for $2.25 million.

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Since signing the big deal with the Jackets, Wennberg has scored just 17 goals over the past three seasons — including just two in 2018-19.

According to Puckpedia.com, the Panthers have 16 players under contract and are about $13 million under the salary cap

Wennberg becomes the latest Columbus transplant with the Panthers which started last July when goalie Sergei Bobrovsky left the Jackets to sign a seven-year, $70 million deal with Florida.

Since then, Bill Zito was hired to be the Panthers’ new general manager after he spent seven years with the Blue Jackets.

Columbus selected Wennberg with the 13th pick of the 2013 NHL draft.

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