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Bjorkstrand's busy summer pays off

by Kristyn Repke / Columbus Blue Jackets

To say that Oliver Bjorkstrand has had a busy summer would be an understatement.

On June 30, he was selected 89th overall in the 2013 NHL Draft. In July, he attended the Blue Jackets' development camp. For most of August, he returned home to Denmark. At the end of August, Bjorkstrand reported to Portland, Ore. for the Portland Winterhawks' (WHL) training camp and preseason games. Last week, he was in Traverse City for the NHL Prospects Tournament. 

This week, he returns to Nationwide Arena to make his case for a roster spot on the 2013-14 Blue Jackets squad.

"It's been exciting and it's been a short summer," Bjorkstrand told "There's been a lot going on since the draft, but I'm enjoying it."

This summer, despite his busy schedule, Bjorkstrand kept up a strict off-ice training regimen and improved his physical fitness, even though he was not able to skate as much as he would have liked.

"During the summer I kept working hard to improve my strength and conditioning," said Bjorkstrand. "Back home in Denmark, there isn't much ice in the summer. Most of my practice was weight training. Three weeks before I went to Portland, I skated and have since been trying to get into the best shape I can."

His hard work showed in Traverse City, where he impressed the coaching staff, general manager Jarmo Kekalainen and president of hockey operations John Davidson. Bjorkstrand scored multiple points and made his case for an invite to the Blue Jackets' training camp this week.

"I thought I did do well there [in Traverse City]," said Bjorkstrand. "I tried to work hard out on the ice and got to know the guys I played with. I roomed with Oscar Dansk and we're both from Europe. He has helped me adjust to the team."

Though a few weeks ago his goal was to score an invitation to training camp, Bjorkstrand's new goal is to impress the coaching staff and put himself in the best possible position as he begins the 2013-14 season.

"I'm just hoping to show some offense and show that I want to play in the NHL," said Bjorkstrand. "If I work hard and keep going, I can make it. I'm trying to learn from the other guys and see what they're doing so I can get there too."

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