After playing most of last season with Djugardens of the Swedish Elite League, Mika Zibanejad will spent 2012-13 in North America.
That’s the word from NHL.com as Ottawa assistant GM Tim Murray said Zibanejad — taken sixth overall at the 2011 draft — will either be with the Senators or their AHL affiliate in Binghamton next season.
“He’s staying no matter what,” Murray said. “Whether its Ottawa or Binghamton, we’re not sending him back. So he’s here.”
Zibanejad made the Senators out of training camp last season as an 18-year-old, only to be sent back to Djugardens in late October. Murray said the “loss of confidence” played a big role in returning Zibanejad to Sweden — confidence that quickly came back.
Upon his return, the talented center scored notched 13 points in 26 regular season games and scored the overtime goal in the championship game at the 2012 World Juniors.
Zibanejad will face a tough test cracking the Ottawa lineup this year. Jason Spezza and Kyle Turris seem entrenched as the No. 1 and 2 centers, meaning he’ll battle with Jim O’Brien, Peter Regin and Stephane Da Costa for a spot.