If you’re looking for an upside to a down year for the Columbus Blue Jackets, look no further than the emergence of Oliver BJORKSTRAND as a bonafide star. The 26-year old winger led the Columbus Blue Jackets in essentially all offensive categories, pacing the team at a .79 point per game clip, which amounts to 64 points over a full 82 game season.
Despite the shortened season, it was a career year for the “The Maestro,” who surpassed his personal best in points (not to mention on an offensively challenged team). He joined Rick Nash as the only player in CBJ history to lead the team in goals in consecutive seasons.
In a year in which so many underachieved, Oliver stepped up both on and off the ice, staking a claim as one of the leaders of the team with the departure of multiple of veteran voices at the trade deadline. It was recently revealed that he was involved in the year-end meeting of the leadership group and General Manager, Jarmo Kekalainen, to discuss the direction of the team moving forward. Could we possibly see a letter on his chest next season?
Oliver Bjorkstrand 2021 Stats
Games Played: 56
5v5 CF%: 47.1
5v5 FF%: 47.7
It gives me great pleasure to say that “Bjorky” is locked up for the foreseeable future. Just prior to the beginning of this past season, he signed a five-year, $27 million contract extension with the Jackets, which will keep him with the club through the 2025-26 season. The new deal carries a $5,400,000 cap hit and includes a Modified No Trade Clause for the last four years of the contract. With his continued upward trajectory, this contract is shaping up to be a steal.
Right off the bat, the high point of the year was Bjorkstrand’s contract extension. I’m not going to get into it here, but having a star player in his prime sign an extension that stretches well into their UFA years is a big win for this team.
On the ice, the high point came in the Jackets’ very first win of the year. A win that was powered largely by a Gordie Howe Hat Trick from Bjorkstrand. He registered a goal, an assist and a fight with Detroit’s Bobby Ryan that resulted in FIFTEEN penalty minutes (65% of his total PIMs for the year).
OLIVER BJORKSTRAND GORDIE HOWE HATTY https://t.co/PI73Mcz5lr— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) January 18, 2021
On April 15th, in the dying seconds of what would eventually be a 4-1 loss to the Dallas Stars, Bjorkstrand took a clearing attempt to the face. He was stitched up during the intermission and returned to the game rocking the full cage. Over the next week or so, Oliver wore a fishbowl and sported a pair of black eyes. To add insult to injury, this occurred in the midst of a season-worst, nine game losing streak.
How would you grade Oliver BJORKSTRAND’s season?
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