COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed right wing Oliver Bjorkstrand of the Western Hockey League’s Portland Winterhawks to a three-year entry level contract, club General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced today. Bjorkstrand was the club’s fifth pick, 89th overall, at the 2013 NHL Draft.
“Oliver Bjorkstrand is a talented player with a tremendous work ethic and we believe he has an extremely bright future,” said Kekalainen. “He is enjoying a breakout season in the WHL this year and is one of a group of young players in our organization that we are very excited about.”
The 6-0, 169-pound winger has tallied 25 goals and 31 assists for 56 points with 14 penalty minutes and a +21 plus/minus rating in 32 games this season, helping Portland amass the WHL’s second-best record at 23-8-2-2. He currently ranks third-T in the league in shorthanded goals (3), fourth in goals and points, seventh-T in game-winning goals (4) and eighth in assists and plus/minus.
Bjorkstrand has racked up 56-63-119 with 24 penalty minutes and a +59 plus/minus rating in 97 career WHL games. In 2012-13, he collected 31-32-63, 10 penalty minutes and was +38 in 65 games for the Winterhawks and led all WHL rookies in goals and points and ranked third in assists.
The Herning, Denmark native also represented his country at the 2012 World Junior Championships. Denmark was relegated to Group 1A at last year’s and this year’s WJC tournament. He was recently named the D1A’s outstanding forward after picking up 4-2-6 in five games and leading Denmark to a 5-0-0 record and promotion to the 2015 World Junior Championship tournament.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)