The Ottawa Senators have returned Mika Zibanejad to Djurgårdens IF of the Swedish Elite League for remainder 2011-12 season. Assessed during a standard nine game tryout, it was determined by GM Bryan Murray, that Zibanejad was better suited playing for Djurgårdens. The center had one point, an assist, and a -3 rating over the 9 games. The sixth overall pick during this year’s entry draft, Zibanejad is the youngest player in the club’s 110 year history, to don the Senators sweater. By the way, the Senators were undefeated in 1901, winning seven games with one tie.
The consensus is that Zibanejad will benefit from the amount of ice time, including power play time, spent with his Swedish League team. It was unlikely, that he would garner such an opportunity with the Senators. The move also saves the first year of his entry level contract, something that has been in discussion here in South Florida; concerning Erik Gudbranson. I firmly believe Gudbranson has earned his right to stay with the Panthers, especially given that the team can loan him to play for Canada in the World Juniors at the end of this year (Dec. 26). Gudbranson, is an Ottawa native. A minus 4 so far this year, he has 26 penalty minutes, some of which earned developing crucial energy (clip). It was just reported that Gudbranson was told in front of the team today that he will be staying with the big club, and will be here for the remainder of the year. We will have a follow up story shortly
Jared Crozier over at SenShot points to the play of Kaspars Daugavins, recently recalled from Binghamton (AHL), and Nikita Filatov with Binghamton; as playing into the decision to return Zibanejad. Ken Warren, of the Ottawa Citizen, recounted that the 18 year old understood the importance of his development. Acknowledging that coach Paul MacLean didn’t think he belonged on a checking line, as the Senators fashion him as a “dynamic front-line player.”
The Florida Panthers 9th game of the season, against the Ottawa Senators, begins at 7:30 this evening from Scotiabank Place in Ottawa. Look for The Rat Trick preview this afternoon. For those attending the game in Ottawa, wives and girlfriends of Senators players will be selling “Love for Locomotive” bracelets, in effort to aid families and honor the memory of the victims of the September 7th plane crash which killed most of the KHL team Yarosalvl Lovomotiv.
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