Sweden’s chances of repeating as World Junior champions have taken a major blow.
That’s because Ottawa GM Bryan Murray informed the masses Thursday that highly-touted prospect Mika Zibanejad would remain with AHL Binghamton over the Holiday season.
“Our opinion is the best way to continue [Zibanejad’s] progress towards becoming an impact player with the Senators is to spend the full season here,” Murray told NHL.com. “He’s learning now to play the North American style and continues to progress playing for [Senators head coach] Luke Richardson in Binghamton.”
Keeping Zibanejad out of the ’13 tournament will be major news in Sweden. He was the hero of last year’s gold medal-winning side, scoring the game-winning goal in OT to defeat Russia 1-0 in the final.
It was Sweden’s first World Junior championship in 31 years.
Zibanejad, 19, was taken sixth overall at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and had a brief nine-game stint in Ottawa last year before being dispatched to Swedish club Djurgarden.
This is his first full year of professional hockey in North America, so it’s not surprising the Sens want to keep close tabs on his progression.
It’s also possible Murray didn’t want to mess with momentum, as Zibanejad only recently scored his first goal for Binghamton — despite playing 16 games.
Curtis Glencross’ hard-luck preseason continued on Monday, as the Avalanche announced they released him from his training camp tryout.
Glencross had previously been cut from Toronto’s camp, which he described as “kind of a shock” move. Following that release, the 32-year-old quickly shifted to Colorado but arrived fairly late in the overall process, and only got a bit of exposure before being let go.
While some thought yesterday’s trade of Freddie Hamilton to Calgary may have opened up a spot for Glencross, the Avs now appear to be going in a different direction.
A two-time 20-goal scorer that netted 13 in 71 games last year, it’s unclear what lies ahead for Glencross.
The Edmonton Oilers have assigned center Leon Draisaitl to AHL Bakersfield.
The demotion of Draisaitl, 19, means 21-year-old rookie Anton Slepyshev has made the opening-day roster after scoring twice and adding two assists in exhibition action.
The Oilers experimented during the preseason with Draisaitl, a natural center, on the wing. He didn’t have a particularly poor camp, finishing with one goal and three assists in six games.
But Slepyshev apparently impressed more.
“He’s a young player but he’s played pro hockey before,” coach Todd McLellan told the Edmonton Journal. “You can see it.”
Slepyshev played 58 games in the KHL last season, scoring 15 goals for Salavat Yulaev Ufa.