With the Columbus Blue Jackets season over it’s time for the Union and Blue staff to give their evaluation of each player’s year.
In his first full season with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Oliver Bjorkstrand was one of the few consistent players on the team. The 23-year-old was one of two Jackets who played all 82 games alongside Pierre-Luc Dubois.
Bjorkstrand came on the scene late in the 2016-2017 season and impressed. In only 26 games he put up 13 points. Expectations were high for the former 3rd round pick and he delivered a solid first year performance. Bjorkstrand’s 11 goals and 29 assist were good for the fifth highest point total on the team.
Most of those points came at even strength as well. Bjorkstrand started off the season playing a decent amount of time on the power play but his time was reduced throughout the year. Bjorkstrand only had nine power play points.
All this production came even though Bjorkstrand had a unusually low shooting percentage. For a player that is known as a sniper, Bjork only has a 6.3% shooting percentage. In his previous two short stints in the NHL he was converting at almost twice that rate. Next year I think you’ll see a lot more goals like this one against the Dallas Stars this season.
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Bjorkstrands entry level deal expires on July 1st and the team will certainly look to sign the young winger to a deal. Wouldn’t be surprised if the Jackets look to offer a three year bridge deal similar to the one the Josh Anderson signed this fall.
The difference is that Bjorkstrand was far more productive in his ELC than Anderson was. In the final year of Anderson’s deal he scored 29 points compared to Bjorkstrand’s 40. Anderson did score more goals but I think the consensus is that Bjorkstrand is a better sniper and with a shooting percentage regression he will be a 20 goal scorer for the foreseeable future.
I can see Bjorkstrand getting 3% percent of the cap for three years. That puts him at about $2.5 million per season.
Bjorkstrand will also compete at the World Championships for Denmark this May. He will be the best player on the Danish team and playing in his home country must be a thrill.
Overall a successful first season in the league for Bjorkstrand. Next year should be a breakout season and he should look to eclipse the 50 point mark.