Young gun Bjorkstrand off to hot NHL start
Most people think of veterans like Frans Nielsen and Jannik Hansen when pondering Danish players in the NHL. But there is a new kid in town, and his name is Oliver Bjorkstrand.
Since his first start for the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Herning-born right winger has notched seven points (4 goals, 3 assists) in his first 11 games since being called up from the Lake Erie Monsters in the American Hockey League (AHL) on March 17.
“Cool experience to get to play my first game in the NHL!,” Bjorkstrand wrote on Twitter after making his debut last month.
Danish IIHF delight?
Since being drafted 89th overall in the 2013 NHL draft, Bjorkstrand, who celebrates his 21st birthday on Sunday, has been a serious point machine.
From 2012-2015, the Dane scored 144 goals and a total of 290 points in 193 games for Portland Winterhawks in the WHL junior league, and he produced 25 points in 46 games for Lake Erie this year before being called up.
If Denmark is fortunate, he will be on the national team for the upcoming 2016 IIHF World Championships in Russia this May.
There are currently seven Danes in the NHL. Aside from Bjorkstrand, they are Frans Nielsen (NY Islanders), Jannik Hansen (Vancouver Canucks), Mikkel Bødker (Colorado Avalanche), Nikolaj Ehlers (Winnipeg Jets), Frederik Andersen (Anaheim Ducks) and Lars Eller (Montreal Canadiens).