After a 2015-16 season in which he scored 8 points in 12 NHL games and 16 points in 17 Calder Cup Playoff games, Oliver Bjorkstrand entered the season with high expectations. The hope was that he could pick up where he left off and be a top 6 contributor.
Things didn’t start as planned. After 3 games, BJORKSTRAND was sent back down to Cleveland. Aside from a 2 game emergency call-up in December, he would stay with the Monsters until February. By that time he had scored 14 goals and 12 assists in 37 games and had earned a second chance with the parent club.
In his first game back, he did this:
In the 21 games after his recall, he scored 6 goals and 6 assists. Torts frequently compared his arrival to a trade deadline acquisition, but in this case the team didn’t have to give up anything to get him. The only thing that could slow him down was a violent hit from Roman Polak in the second game against Toronto, which shelved him for six games. (That hit came just minutes after I purchased a BJORKSTRAND t-shirt. Sorry, Ollie)
In his 26 total games, BJORKSTRAND had an even strength Corsi For % of 55.1, which was the best on the team.
In the playoffs, BJORKSTRAND struggled to find the back of the net, as did most Jackets. He had just 10 shots on goal in the series, and only 1 point. But boy did that point count, as it was a crucial second assist to set up Brandon Dubinsky’s tying goal to send Game 3 to overtime:
So, what did you all think of BJORKSTRAND’s season? What do you expect from him next year? I hope that he’ll use the summer to add some muscle to his frame, to better withstand the hits he’ll take, and to add a physical element to the speed and shooting skill he already possesses. I hope he hits the ground running and spends the whole season in Columbus playing top 6 minutes and scoring 20+ goals.
Oliver BJORKSTRAND 2016-17 Stats
Games played: 26
Time on ice: 14:05
Penalty Minutes: 6
Corsi For (even strength): 55.1%