With all of the forward prospects the Blue Jackets have marinating in the AHL and below, it's sometimes hard to decide which has the brightest future. For many of us, the future of BJORKSTRAND (nee, Oliver Bjorkstrand) cannot come quickly enough. After being selected in the 3rd round of 2013 following a solid 30/30 season in Portland, BJORKSTRAND exploded in the following two years in the WHL, to the tune of:
128 games, 113 goals, 114 assists, 227 points
38 games, 29 goals, 29 assists, 58 points
So, yeah, if you're scoring at home, that's a combined two final seasons of junior hockey with 142 goals... in 166 games. 285 points, or 1.72 points per game. I mean, f**k, man. Thereafter, he was, is, and will always be simply known as BJORKSTRAND.
Not bad, for a third round pick.
Fighting an injury in his first pro season, he's turned in a respectable 15/10/25 in 46 games. He's about to turn 21, and will be making his NHL debut tonight. And, unlike some of his AHL compatriots, he'll be going straight into a top six role.
#CBJ coach John Tortorella on Bjorkstrand: "I'm getting him right on the first power play. Let's see what he has there."— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) March 17, 2016
Why not? The kid's never going to be a grinder. And, lest we think this is a one-shot deal, not so fast:
#CBJ Tortorella said this is not a one-game call-up for BJORKSTRAND, Chaput and Ramage. He's gathering intel for future.— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) March 17, 2016
The bigger question I have is this: with the influx of young guys for tonight's game as well as the lineup tinkering (Jenner as #1 center, anyone?), it's clear the CBJ are now firmly into "next year" mode. It begs the question, however: why did they wait so damn long to get there?
I like watching my team win. We've had this discussion about "tanking" over and over. I guess my question is: why are we waiting to do this until game #70? The Jackets have been out of it since December. Hell, since game eight, technically.
The only answer I can come up with--and it's arguably a good one--is that the team needed time to have some flavor, recharge the batteries, shut down the engines, and get themselves back to neutral under Tortorella. Perhaps now that they've seen some improvement, they decided it's time to plug some of the young guys back in.
Anything that gives us a lineup without Rene Bourque, Jared Boll, and David Clarkson, I'm all for it.
Columbus Blue Jackets
(28-33-8, 64 Points; 8th division, 15th conference)
|Brandon Saad||Boone Jenner||Cam Atkinson|
|Brandon Dubinsky||Alexander Wennberg||BJORKSTRAND|
|Scott Hartnell||William Karlsson||Nick Foligno|
|Gregory Campbell||Michael Chaput||Matt Calvert|
|Ryan Murray||Seth Jones|
|Cody Goloubef||David Savard|
|Justin Falk||John Ramage|
Detroit Red Wings
(34-25-11, 79 Points; 4th Division, 9th Conference)
|Justin Abdelkader||Henrik Zetterberg||Dylan Larkin|
|Tomas Tatar||Pavel Datsyuk||Anthony Mantha|
|Gustav Nyquist||Riley Sheahan||Andreas Athanasiou|
|Darren Helm||Luke Glendening||Brad Richards|
|Danny DeKeyser||Kyle Quincey|
|Brendan Smith||Mike Green|
|Jonathan Ericsson||Alexey Marchenko|