RW Oliver Bjorkstrand - Portland Winterhawks, WHL (2013, 89th overall, Columbus)
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06-29-2012, 12:59 PM
Danish junior hockey
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Sevilla, Spain
I admit that going to play in NA in his draft year would most certainly get him scouted a lot more than playing in the Danish league, but I am not sure that it would definitely be the best for him (or other European junior players).
It is of cause most hockey players dream to get to play in the NHL, but very few actually manage to do so. And many European junior hockey players are persuaded to go to NA to play junior hockey, because they are told that their chances to get to play in the NHL will be better if they take this route. Unfortunately this is a lie; there has been several studies showing that few European junior players will actually benefit going the NA route.
I am not saying that it could not be beneficial for Olivers draft stock to play in Portland, but I doubt he will develop better there than playing at least another year in the best Danish league. He still has a lot to learn, before necessary focusing on the physical aspect of the game. I doubt he will be able to break a NHL roster right after he is drafted, so he has no need for adjusting to the NA rink at the moment.
A better solution could be to play junior hockey in Sweden, that way he would get scouted more without having to adjust to the NA game. But still; playing against men in a professional league where he will get a lot of ice time and quality training, why is that so wrong?
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