Oliver Bjorkstrand
Image: WHL

Oliver Bjorkstrand

Hometown:

Herning Denmark

Currently Playing In:

Pro

Birthday:

1995-04-10

Position:

RW

Eligible for draft:

2013

Shoots:

Right

Drafted:

2013

Height:

5-11

Acquired:

3rd round (89th overall), 2013

Weight:

164 lbs.

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History

2010-11: Oliver Bjorkstrand made his pro hockey debut as a 15-year-old, playing in a playoff game with Herning Blue Fox’s second team in his native Denmark after splitting the year between the Herning U20 and U17 teams. In 11regular season games with the U20 team he scored 13 goals with 6 assists and had 2 penalty minutes. Herning finished first in the West Division and lost to East Division champion Rodovre in the final. Bjorkstrand was the team’s leading scorer in the playoffs with 1 goal and 7 assists in six games.

2011-12: Bjorkstrand was one of the youngest players in Denmark’s AL-Bank Ligaen, skating in 36 regular season games and 10 playoff contest for league champion Herning. He also played five games for Herning’s second team and represented Denmark in the U20 and U18 World Junior Championship tournaments. He scored 13 goals with 13 assists during the regular season and added 1 goal with 2 assists and 4 penalty minutes in the playoffs for the Blue Fox. In five games with Herning’s second team he scored 1 goal with 2 assists. Bjorkstrand scored 2 goals and was minus-five in six games at the 2012 U20 WCJ for 10th place Denmark. He was the second-leading scorer for the U18 team, which was also relegated after finishing last, scoring 4 goals with 3 assists in six games. Bjorkstrand was selected by Portland in the first round (26th overall) of the 2012 CHL Import Draft.

2012-13: Bjorkstrand scored at nearly a point per game pace for WHL champion Portland in his first season in North America and played for Denmark in the 2013 Division 1A World Junior Championship. He scored 31 goals with 32 assists and was plus-38 with 10 penalty minutes in 65 games for the Winterhawks. Portland won 57 of 72 games in regulation during the season and defeated Edmonton in the WHL Finals, the third straight year the Winterhawks were in the finals. Bjorkstrand scored 8 goals with 11 assists and was plus-11 with 4 penalty minutes in 21 playoff games. Denmark finished third in the D1A U20 WJC tournament, with Bjorkstrand scoring 5 goals with 3 assists and finishing plus-four with 2 penalty minutes in five games. He was ranked 36th amongst North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings prior to the 2013 NHL Draft.

2013-14: Bjorkstrand was one of three WHL players to score 50 goals and was third in the league behind Spokane’s Mitch Holmberg and Portland teammate Nicolas Petan with 109 points in his second season with the Winterhawks. He scored 50 goals with 59 assists and was plus-44 with 36 penalty minutes on a dominant Portland team. The Winterhawks were first in the U.S. Division and defeated Kelowna, which had the league’s top record, in the Western Conference Finals before falling to Memorial Cup champion Edmonton in the WHL Finals. Bjorkstrand scored 16 goals with 17 assists and was plus-17 with 8 penalty minutes in 21 playoff games. He was an assistant captain for the Denmark U20 team that was a perfect 5-0 in dominating the competition at the 2014 Division 1A World Juniors in Poland. He scored 4 goals with 2 assists and was plus-2 with 2 penalty minutes. Bjorkstrand signed a three-year entry-level contract with Columbus in December 2013. 

2014-15: Bjorkstrand led the WHL in goals (63) and points (118) in his final season with Portland and played for Denmark in the 2015 World Junior and World Championship tournaments. He had 55 assists and was +60 with 35 penalty minutes in 59 regular season games for the Winterhawks. Portland  finished second in the U.S. Division and reached the Western Conference Finals against eventual WHL champion Kelowna. Bjorkstrand scored 13 goals with 12 assists and was +8 with 10 penalty minutes in 17 playoff games. He had no points and was -3 with 2 penalty minutes in three games for Denmark’s national team at the World Championship and scored 4 goals with 1 assist, finishing -4 with 2 penalty minutes, in five games for the Denmark U20 team at the World Juniors. 

2015-16: Bjorkstrand made his NHL debut with the Blue Jackets in a game against Detroit on March 17th after spending most of his first pro season with the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters. He scored his first two NHL goals two nights later against New Jersey. Bjorkstrand scored 15 goals with 10 assists and was -1 with 8 penalty minutes in 46 regular season games for Lake Erie, missing 18 games with an upper-body injury.

Talent Analysis

Bjorkstrand has a heavy shot and a quick release. He is an aggressive forechecker with little fear of traffic in the attacking zone. Bjorkstrand plays a responsible defensive game but his strong suit is a nose for the net. He is a pure goal scorer that makes a living off creating scoring chances. He does not have much strength, but relies on his speed to outlast defenders. Bjorkstrand is extremely fun to watch.

Future

Bjorkstrand made his pro debut with the AHL's Lake Erie Monsters, spending most of the 2015-16 season with the Columbus affiliate before joining the Blue Jackets late in the year. Slowed by an injury in mid-season, he is showing signs of being an impact scorer and possible top-six forward. Bjorkstrand will make a strong push for a roster spot with the Blue Jackets in 2016-17 and figures to be a fixture in the lineup for Columbus for years to come.

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