Highlight Farewell: A Look Back At Former Columbus Blue Jacket Oliver Bjorkstrand

By Will Chase on July 29, 2022 at 1:45 pm
Columbus Blue Jackets Oliver Bjorkstrand looks on from the ice during the second period of game one of the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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It's been one week.

Seven days since the trade that sent Oliver Bjorkstrand to the Seattle Kraken in exchange for a third- and a fourth-round pick in 2023.

But before we turn the page entirely, it's time to celebrate Bjorkstrand's tenure with the Columbus Blue Jackets and give him the sendoff he deserves.

Born in Herning, Denmark, Bjorkstrand was drafted by the Blue Jackets in the third round of the 2013 NHL draft with the 28th pick. He was part of the (then) Lake Erie Monsters' 2016 Calder Cup championship team, scoring six points and five goals in the final. Bjorkstrand had two goals in Games 2 and 3, including the overtime game-winner with which Zach Werenski had an assist. Then he scored the overtime winner with 1.9 seconds remaining in overtime—another Werenski assist—in Game 4 to seal the sweep and the championship over the Hershey Bears.

Bjorkstrand was the playoff MVP, finishing first among all players with 10 postseason goals—six-game-winning goals—and 16 points, which was third-most overall and first on the Monsters. That Monsters team was coached by Jared Bednar, the head coach of the Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche.

Making his NHL debut with the Blue Jackets in 2015-16, Bjorkstrand amassed 234 points (111 goals, 123 assists) in 382 games over parts of seven seasons in Columbus. His 111 goals rank seventh all-time in franchise history and his 234 points rank eighth.

Bjorkstrand's 91 even-strength goals are fifth all-time. He finishes tied with Scott Hartnell for ninth among the team's all-time power play goal leaders with 20, and his 12 game-winning goals are tied for 10th all-time with Geoff Sanderson, Jason Chimera, Seth Jones, and Werenski.

In 31 career playoff games, Bjorkstrand has 12 points (six goals, six assists).

Speaking of playoffs, you can't think of Bjorkstrand and not think of the epic second period go-ahead, and eventual game-winning, goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2018-19 Quarterfinals.

That goal at 18:46 helped clinch the sweep of the Lightning and the first-ever series victory in franchise history as the Blue Jackets won that final game 7-3. Bjorkstrand's Game 4 was all part of a three-point effort that included two assists in the victory. His tally also answered Braydon Point's goal just 54 seconds prior, which had tied the score at three.

Bjorkstrand also had the deciding goal two nights earlier in Game 3, when the Blue Jackets defeated the Lightning 3-1 to take a commanding 3-0 series lead. His power play goal at 8:25 of the second period gave Columbus a 2-0 lead at that juncture in the game.

A year later, the two teams met once again in the NHL playoff bubble.

While the Lightning exacted revenge, winning the series to eliminate the Blue Jackets in five games, Bjorkstrand left his mark on the memorable five overtime game, a 3-2 loss to the Lightning. His second period goal gave the Blue Jackets a 2-1 lead 19:12 into the frame.

In Game 2, Bjorkstrand picked up his third-career postseason game-winning goal to even the series at one game apiece. The power play goal at that time in the game at 18:35 gave the Blue Jackets a 2-1 first period lead as they hung on to win 3-1.

In Game 5, the Lightning eventually won the game and series in overtime, 5-4, but Bjorkstrand's goal at 9:33 of the third period gave Columbus a chance, giving the team a 4-2 lead at that point.

In the 2018-19 playoffs, Bjorkstrand's lone goal of the playoffs—his first career playoff goal—was of the pivotal variety as his tip-in scored the game-tying goal 2:30 into the third period to push the Blue Jackets to overtime, before falling to the Washington Capitals, 4-3.

On Nov. 1, 2029, Bjorkstrand earned his 100th career point with the Blue Jackets when he scored a power play goal as part of a two-point night in a 4-3 overtime loss to the St. Louis Blues.

During a 3-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Feb. 27 of this past season, Bjorkstrand's first period goal was his 100th career goal. He joined Rick Nash (289), Cam Atkinson (213), Boone Jenner (144), Nick Foligno (142), R.J. Umberger (120), and David Vyborny (113) as the only members of the Blue Jackets 100 career goal club.

Though he's never recorded a hat trick, Bjorkstrand has 14 career multi-goal games and 50 career multi-point games.

In his second career NHL game on Mar. 19, 2016, he scored the first of his two career NHL goals in a 6-3 win over the New Jersey Devils.

On opening night of the 2021-22 season, he scored two goals in his first career four-point game against the Arizona Coyotes, as Columbus routed the Coyotes 8-2. He notched his second such game when he scored one goal and three assists during a 6-4 win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Mar. 13.

He also added two more goals against the Devils on Jan. 8, a 4-3 win. Before that game, the team celebrated Jake Voracek's 1,000 career games.

During the 2019-20 season, Bjorkstrand pulled off an interesting feat when he had three consecutive two-goal games from Dec. 21 through Jan. 22.

That happened when Bjorkstrand missed nearly a month due to a rib injury following his two-goal performance in a 5-1 victory over the Devils on Dec. 21. Upon his return, he scored two goals apiece on Jan. 19th, a 2-1 win over the New York Rangers, and Jan. 22nd, a 4-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets.

The overall stretch was part of a four-game goal streak, as he added a goal in a 2-1 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Feb. 1, accumulating seven goals in four games. He also had a two-goal game against the Capitals on Dec. 16, which gave him four two-goal performances in six games.

From Dec. 16 through Feb. 2 of the 2019-20 season, Bjorkstrand had 13 points (10 goals, three assists) over eight games, his longest career points streak.

In that same season, he had his second-longest scoring streak when he had nine points (two goals, seven assists) in six games from Nov. 19 through Nov. 29. Bjorkstrand had another streak that season of six consecutive games with a point (four goals, three assists) from Feb. 10 through Feb. 20.

In the 2018-19 season, Bjorkstrand had seven points (all goals) in six games from Mar. 24 through Apr. 2 for his longest-career goals streak.

He also had a goal two games before the streak—a 4-2 loss to the Calgary Flames—and two games after the streak—three points with one goal in a 6-2 win in the season finale over the Ottawa Senators—giving him 11 points (nine goals, two assists) over the 10-game stretch to close out the season. 

Bjorkstrand finished the 2021-22 season on a high note, with seven points in the last four games (four goals, three assists) from Apr. 24 through Apr. 29. All scoring data per Stathead.

All in all, Bjorkstrand was an integral player in the Blue Jackets' success, helping form the most successful stretch in team history. Last season was his first season wearing the 'A' for the franchise. Columbus will face Bjorkstrand and the Kraken in Seattle on Sat. Jan. 28. Bjorkstrand will return to Nationwide Arena on Friday, Mar. 3.

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