2017-18 Player Review: BJORKSTRAND
The Great Dane takes another step forward
After two seasons of part time duty, with flashes of potential, this was a season where Oliver Bjorkstrand would need to stake a claim to a roster spot once and for all. Could he become the BJORKSTRAND of my dreams? The BJORKSTRAND that was foretold?
Well, he did secure that roster spot, playing in all 82 games. Only Pierre-Luc Dubois could match that. He averaged 14:18 of ice time a night, but that ranged from a season high 20:32 at Anaheim in March, and a low of 6:58 against Pittsburgh in April. Mostly he was used as a third line winger. Did his production match that?
You may be surprised to know that his production actually exceeded his usage. BJORKSTRAND was fifth on the team in points, with 40 (behind Panarin, Jones, Dubois, Atkinson). He was THIRD in assists, with 29 (behind Panarin and Jones). Now, his goal tally was disappointing for a player of his skill set, with just 11 (10th best on the team). His shooting percentage was 6.7%, so there may be room for improvement there next season. How many of his shots hit the post, after all? I met him at a STH event before the season and told him he’d score 30 goals. Maybe next season!
BJORKSTRAND finished his season with 1 goal and 2 assists in the playoff series against Washington, and the same stat line over 7 games in the World Championships, played in his hometown of Herning, Denmark.
BJORKSTRAND enters the offseason as a restricted free agent. He earned a salary of $700,000 this season, so he’s looking at a healthy raise. A contract similar to Josh Anderson’s 3 year/$1.85M AAV seems like a reasonable projection.
Games played: 82
Time on ice: 14:18
Penalty Minutes: 9
Corsi For (even strength): 51.4%
The time BJORKSTRAND single-handedly defeated the Dallas Stars.
The Maestro’s orchestra fell silent in the final month of the season (I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m trying to delete it). He scored just 1 goal in the final 26 games, on 1.8% shooting percentage. Fortunately he tallied 8 assists, so he was still helping his team down the stretch. Still, not the kind of cold stretch that he - or the team - can afford.
How would you grade BJORKSTRAND’s 2017-18 season?