Bjorkstrand scored his second goal in three games during Sunday's 4-3 loss to the Predators. He also led the Blue Jackets with six shots on goal. Bjorkstrand has looked right at home in the NHL over the last three games since being recalled from AHL Cleveland, and he's making it very tough for the front office to consider sending him back down after the team's midseason bye week.
Bjorkstrand was scoreless with two shots on goal in Friday's 2-1 overtime win against the Penguins. Bjorkstrand had a goal nullified on a delayed penalty in the second period. He nearly struck for a goal in a second straight game. Bjorkstrand is seeing time with Scott Hartnell (lower body) on the shelf. He is likely headed back to a lesser role, or even back to Cleveland of the AHL, once the veteran is ready to return from injury.
Bjorkstrand scored his first goal of the season on three shots in Wednesday's 5-2 win over the Maple Leafs. Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella has been looking for a young player to provide a spark in a lineup that's been spinning its wheels for weeks now, and Bjorkstrand did just that Wednesday, getting loose at the Toronto blue line after a neutral zone turnover and depositing the puck neatly over Curtis McElhinney's shoulder on the breakaway. While Scott Hartnell (lower body) may not be out of action long, Bjorkstrand seems intent on sticking around even after the veteran heals up.
Bjorkstrand skated on a line with Alexander Wennberg and Brandon Saad during Tuesday's practice, The Columbus Dispatch reports. There's no guarantee Bjorkstrand keeps that plum assignment during Wednesday's game against the Leafs, but Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella has been hinting that he'd like to see a younger player make a push for a regular spot on the roster, so the 21-year-old could get a long look this time around. Bjorkstrand has 14 goals and 26 points in 37 games for AHL Cleveland this season, but just one assist in five NHL games so far in 2016-17.
Bjorkstrand was recalled on an emergency basis Tuesday. The 21-year-old's recall comes after Scott Hartnell left the first period of Monday's loss with an undisclosed injury. There hasn't been a further update on Hartnell's condition as of yet, but if he's unable to go, Bjorkstrand will step into the lineup Wednesday to take on the Leafs. As a player with a ton of offensive skill, Bjorkstrand could make an impact if he's given a chance to play in the top-six forward group or on the powerplay.
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