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Oliver Bjorkstrand To Represent Kraken in NHL All-Star Festivities

Dec 14, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Kraken forward Oliver Bjorkstrand (22) celebrates after scoring a goal during the second period against the Chicago Blackhawks at Climate Pledge Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports

Pack your bags, Oliver Bjorkstrand– Toronto’s calling.

Thursday evening, the NHL announced the first-time All-Star and second-place skater on the Kraken in goals (11) and points (29) would represent the team in the upcoming All-Star Weekend, to be held at Scotiabank arena from February 1-3. Bjorkstrand will be joined by Jack Eichel, Connor McDavid, and Elias Lindholm from the Pacific Division, although not necessarily under one divisional banner. Teams will be constructed according to the All-Star Player Draft, returning for the first time in years.

As it stands, the Dane is the second player to participate in the All-Star Game for Seattle, the first being Jordan Eberle during the 2021-22 season.

Twelve more players will be selected by fans in the month ahead, a chance for Seattle to be represented by more than one player for the first time ever. Voting is now open and will remain open until Jan 11.

Deprived of a representative last season after invitee Matty Beniers suffered an injury a week prior to the All-Star Game, Kraken fans will no doubt be pleased by any selection from their team– the Vegas Golden Knights’ Chandler Stephenson replaced the eventual Calder winner, a move that soured many on the festivities as a whole.

Regardless, Bjorkstrand is a particularly rousing choice. Blossoming into a sharpshooter for the Kraken, his ascension into a top-scorer is responsible for much of the team’s success.

In spite of the Kraken’s regression, Bjorkstrand’s killer shot (11 SH%) has kept their attack afloat, and his consistent production has proven a reliable source of offense– he’s on pace to score 20 goals for the fourth time in his career. At five-on-five through 38 games this season, Bjorkstrand ranks first in points per game (2.74) and top-three in both goals and assists per game. He leads the team in shot attempts (221) and shots on goal (100), surpassing even Jared McCann. With Bjorkstrand on the ice, Seattle controls 61.2% of the total shot quality (3rd) and 60.9% of the total goals (2nd).

But shot quality dominance could not be had without defensive composure, something Bjorkstrand possesses in spades. He allows the third-fewest high danger shot attempts per game (1.89) behind only Devin Shore and Kailer Yamamoto, but has recorded the most icetime of those three (635 minutes; 4th).

It’s an unexpected choice, but only in terms of flash– his numbers make him overwhelmingly deserving of the honor, and it’s about time he gains some league attention to go with them. Make Seattle proud, Bjorkstrand!

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