Seattle Kraken, Oliver Bjorkstrand

Seattle Kraken: Oliver Bjorkstrand Shift Diary vs Sharks

Seattle Kraken winger Oliver Bjorkstrand, acquired at the NHL Draft this summer from the Columbus Blue Jackets for a third and fourth round pick, is a half-a-point-a-game guy this season. He has one goal and eight assists in 18 games.

Since we’ve focused quite a bit on the other “new guys”, Martin Jones, Justin Schultz, and Andre Burakovsky, how about a good old fashioned Seattle Hockey Insider shift diary to see how Bjorkstrand is doing. He’s been a solid two-way player mostly on the third line for coach Dave Hakstol’s Kraken.

Bjorkstrand (referred to in diary as OB) is 6th on the all-time NHL scoring list for Danish-born players (243), just 13 points shy of passing Jannik Hansen.

For this game, Bjorkstrand was listed on the 3rd line with center Yanni Gourde and winger Brandon Tanev to his left.

First Period

:46-1:25 Offensive zone draw for Kraken is lost and cleared by Sharks. OB chases back to his own end and helps create a breakout. On the ensuing dump in, OB slightly overskates the forecheck on the far boards. His linemates keep it in. A pass narrowly misses him in the slot, and the Sharks are able to clear off an endboards carom. Bjorkstrand peels off to the bench.

4:11-5:00 Neutral zone draw twice after quick stoppage following Sharks game-opening goal. Head-man pass skipped off OB’s skate into the right corner where he gave chase and delivered a bump. Puck free and cleared by San Jose. Backcheck, he disrupted the play. Changed on a re-group.

9:28-9:35 Lined up on the right wing in the neutral zone with the 2nd power play unit. Seven seconds later San Jose took another penalty and Bjorkstrand was replaced. (The Kraken scored nine seconds later)

9:44-10:30 OB was back out on the power play unit for the remaining 5-on-4 after his teammates had scored on the 5-on-3. After a failed entry, the Kraken regrouped and failed to gain control in the offensive zone again. OB went to the bench.

— Bjorkstrand was replaced by Morgan Geekie on the wing on what would have been his next shift with center Gourde. OB missed a rotation. Geekie came out again as a center before OB got a another shift. Possibly the result of the coach wanting Geekie available for a right-handed draw.

15:48-16:02 Slowly off the bench into a defensive posture. A break-out attempt ended in the neutral zone and the group started to backpedal after a turnover. The Sharks rush was blown offside and play stopped. Line change.

16:52-17:07 Another short one. After a dump-in and a cover up by Sharks goalie Kaapo Kahkonen, Tanev and Luke Kunin of the Sharks went off for roughing. With the offensive zone draw, Seattle’s first line came off the bench.

After 1 – Bjorkstrand 2:51 of ice time, no stats — San Jose Sharks 2, Seattle Kraken 1

2nd Period

:48-1:59 – Started with a brief backcheck that led to a breakout and a dump in. On the forecheck, he and Tanev created a turnover. chipped deep again, OB played the puck along the end boards from the left wing corner. Cruised the slot. Pressure continued leading to a Sharks Matt Nieto hooking call and a Kraken power play.

3:25-4:25 – Out with 2nd power play unit. Moderate pressure. Moved pucks but didn’t end up with grade-A chances. Hovered near left point/high slot as power play expired. After Sharks clear, was part of a Kraken regroup and rush, then peeled off to bench.

5:52-6:29 – Neutral zone draw following Vince Dunn’s tying goal for the Kraken, 2-2. Seattle advances puck and Bjorkstrand ends up with a shot-on-goal and a scoring chance with a quick snap shot from the top of the left circle through a slight screen. It challenged Kahkonen as he sticked it aside.

8:05-9:14 – In on the rush, plays the puck in the right wing corner, chases it down in the left wing corner. Very active. Sets up in front and gets double-teamed. Kept the play alive twice. Following a San Jose clear the group is right back at it. Bjorkstrand is getting better as the game goes on, as is his club.

11:05-11:15 – Off an offensive zone draw, the puck quickly ends up out of play off a battle. The stoppage brings the period’s second TV time-out and a change of lines coming out of the break.

11:25-11:36 – Joined his line late, similar to first period, was replaced on Gourde line by Geekie who took a right-handed draw in Kraken D-zone. OB hopped on part way but the play ended with the puck out of play in the neutral zone.

13:39-14:25 – Following a Sharks goal, a Kraken shift with a little bit of everything. Puck battle in the center ice circle, hard forecheck, regroup after a San Jose clear and another forecheck. Neither team establishing possession offensively. Peels off to bench.

16:15-17:00 – On hand for an excellent rush by Gourde and Tanev with the latter missing a gaping net. Tanev complained he was hooked. OB trailed the play and played a part in the forecheck and ensuing pressure.

After 2 – 8:42 of total ice time with 1 shot on goal. His confidence seemed to increase. Most noticeable for the first half of the game was the fact that on the four or five occasions a pass hit his stick, it slid through or away, as if he had” a hole in his stick.” Players in goal slumps grip their sticks. “Ollie” would loosen up in the third period.

3rd Period

Our apologies. Our diligence was interrupted when the wifi went out at the Climate Pledge Arena and we scrambled to monitor highlights, stats, and other information. We were writing two stories at once and the computer was essentially useless.

We did manage to take in as much of Bjorkstrand’s first two shifts of the period as possible.

Remarkably on this night, he scored his first goal since the opening night of the season.

:54-1:00 Out for a D-zone draw, controlled by the Sharks, sent to the point, fired at the net and tipped in by Alexander Barabanov.

2:29-2:48 Still deep in the San Jose zone from a forecheck, once the Sharks turned the puck over, Bjorkstrand was alone in front where Gourde found him. OB made a crazy backhand juke to beat Kahkonen.

4:15-4:45 This is where distractions and ensuing scramble from lost wifi prevented further logging. We finished on the high note.

Game for Bjorkstrand: 12:51 of ice time, 1:23 on the power play. two shots on goal, one goal, no assists, one hit.

Rob Simpson

Rob Simpson has covered the NHL in five different decades. He’s authored 4 books on hockey and is a veteran TV and radio play-by-play man and reporter.