Bjorkstrand, Columbus’ third-round pick (89th overall) at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, capped off a banner 2014-15 campaign by winning the WHL’s Player of the Year award, becoming just the second European player to ever capture the trophy.
(Past WHL POY winners include Sam Reinhart, Jordan Eberle, Karl Alzner, Dan Hamhuis and Jarome Iginla.)
The 20-year-old Dane scored a whopping 63 goals and 118 points in just 59 games this season. He also set some league history by scoring 50 goals in 50 games, becoming the first WHL player to accomplish the feat since Anaheim forward Emerson Etem did it for Medicine Hat in 2011-12.
Bjorkstrand participated with Columbus in training camp and the preseason before being returned to Portland, and also logged time with the Danish team at the 2015 World Juniors. There, he led the Danes to their first-ever win in tourney history, scoring five points in five games.
He’s currently participating with Denmark’s national team at the World Hockey Championships in the Czech Republic, and will (presumably) get a good look at cracking the Blue Jackets roster this fall.
Todd McLellan’s focus right now is on coaching Team Canada in the 2015 World Championships, but he did admit that he’s had an interview with new Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli while they’re both in Prague, per the Edmonton Sun.
In fact, the Sun thinks that interview was Chiarelli’s primary motivation for making the journey to Europe. While he’s there though, he’s also met with Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Anton Lander, and Oscar Klefbom.
McLellan, who has a career 311-163-66 record, mutually parted ways with the Sharks after San Jose failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2003. It’s believed that other teams are also interested in his services, including the Buffalo Sabres. At the end of the day though, whether or not he’s teams’ top choice might be dependent on what Mike Babcock decides to do next. The highly regarded Detroit Red Wings coach has the option to become a free agent this summer.
The coaching market might remain at a standstill until Babcock announces what his plans are, but in the meantime McLellan has made his interest in the Oilers clear.
“It’s a team with a rich history and they have some good players there. Now you add in McDavid, Bob (Nicholson) taking over and Peter (Chiarelli) coming in,” McLellan said. “I really do think there were good people there before. What job descriptions they end up in, I’m not sure. But there will be a very strong team and group of people there.
“For any coach to consider all of that, it has to be a positive. It has to be exciting, not just for myself but for anybody. With all those good players there, it will eventually get going the right way. I think some of the changes and the No. 1 draft pick on Connor McDavid’s year make it enticing.”
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
After being swept in first round of last spring’s playoffs by the Montreal Canadiens, Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning feel they’re better prepared for this year’s rematch.
“We weren’t ready to play at that level. We had a lot of young guys,” Stamkos said per The Associated Press. “We have another year under our belt. Now we have a series win, and a Game 7 win under our belt. Guys get more confidence.” (AP)
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Having won just three bronze medals in the past 20 years at the World Hockey Championship, Ken Campbell writes it’s time for the Americans to pay a little more attention to the international competition. (The Hockey News)
A St. Louis Blues fan won an unfortunate radio contest. Prior to the Blues being eliminated in the first round, a fan had a St. Louis Blues 2015 Stanley Cup champions tattoo paid for by 105.7 the Point. (Bar Down)
Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson made good on his bet with Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi following the Canucks first round loss to the Flames. (Yahoo)
With it being Thursday, here’s a little throwback highlight pack. The pack features Stamkos, Michael Del Zotto, Alex Pietrangelo, Jordan Eberle, Travis Hamonic, Martin Jones and Tyler Johnson participating at the 2000 Super Novice Brick Hockey Tournament at Edmonton’s West Edmonton Mall.