Besides a one-way ticket to North America, the only other thing that Senators prospect Jakob Silfverberg will buying soon is a bigger cabinet to house his Swedish Elite League (SEL) hardware. After being recognized as the SEL's most valuable player and youngest since Peter Forsberg, you can now add SEL playoff MVP and champion to his resume.
It's quite the list of accomplishments and it makes his decision to ignore the best efforts of the Murray management team to convince him to remain in Ottawa and return to the SEL for one more season the right one.
Dating back to the organization’s development camp last June, it’s been quite the wooing process. When asked at the time what he could say to change Silfverberg’s mind about returning to Sweden, general manager Bryan Murray simply said, “I’m just going to tell him I think he’s ready.”
Well, now that he’s finally ready, the question becomes: when is he going to play?
Since winning their SEL championship last night, the interwebs around these parts have been abuzz over when would be the most prudent time to get Jakob Silfverberg into the lineup. During one intermission last night, TSN's Darren Dreger speculated that he'd be likely to appear in game six at the earliest. Even that may be somewhat premature.
According to the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch, who talked with Silfverberg's Swedish national coach Par Marts, Silfverberg will join the Senators immediately. He will fly to Ottawa Sunday and it’s conceivable he could available if there is a Game 7 Thursday at Madison Square Garden. (Note: Bryan Murray confirmed this earlier today – via @citizenkwarren.)
Some cynics will be quick to allude to the success that fellow Swede and former Senators prospect David Rundblad experienced over in the SEL last season and encourage Senators fans to temper their expectations for Silfverberg.
Time to temper Silfverberg hype. Even Erik Karlsson says there's a big adjustment period from SEL to NHL. — Ken Warren (@Citizenkwarren) April 20, 2012
Don’t get me wrong.
Under normal circumstances, I’d be inclined to share such a reserved approach but that was before I watched Jesse Winchester start game four on a line with Jason Spezza. It’s a situation that’s exponentially made worse by Daniel Alfredsson being out indefinitely with a concussion. This team simply could afford to have an infusion of goal scoring ability on its top two lines and power play units.
Some may opine the fact that like Rundblad, the transition to the North American game takes time. It’s a fair point but it’s a transition made easier by the fact that Silfverberg plays the wing. While it may take some in-game time for Silfverberg to make adjustments, learn the system and get used to the smaller ice surface and different angles, it’s not like he has ever had his defensive aptitude questioned by respected individuals within hockey circles.Others will espouse the opinion that the team is doing well without him and inserting him into the lineup now could disrupt chemistry. But given how the coaching seems willing to entertain the possibility of playing Mike Hoffman or now even Mark Stone (who will accompany the team to New York), why should anyone else for that matter have reservations? Besides, given the video of Silfverberg celebrating yesterday's win and given his decision to return to Brynas, it speaks volumes about this prospect's character.
As @steffeG wrote last summer:
He's got his loyalty to Brynäs. He was born in Gävle, the town which Brynäs is located in, and he's been with them from pee-wee all the way up to be a carrying player on the senior team. SEL teams are usually finished building the vast majority of their team in April, so if he changes his mind now, it'll leave a big hole on their roster that will be hard to fill at this time of the year, especially since Silfverberg's playing essentially for free compared to what a player of his calibre to replace him would cost.
Other News of Questionable Importance...
- Daniel Alfredsson and Jesse Winchester did NOT travel with the Senators to New York.
- On the Swedish Elite League's website, there's a fantastic photo of Andreas Dackell shedding a tear after his Brynas teammates won the championship. Out with some variety of knee injury, Dackell has been unable to play for the latter part of the season.
If I can remember correctly, this is the same player who did not shed a single tear after Eric Lindros pasted him into the endboards.
- Over the course of the next week or so, the NHL will be releasing the finallists for each of their respective major awards. Here is that schedule:
- Friday, April 20: Calder Trophy (top rookie)
- Monday, April 23 : Selke Trophy (top defensive forward) and Lady Byng Trophy (skill/sportsmanship)
- Tuesday, April 24: Masterton Trophy (perseverance and dedication to hockey) and General Manager of the Year
- Wednesday, April 25: Vezina Trophy (top goaltender)
- Thursday, April 26: Norris Trophy (top defenseman)
- Friday, April 27: Hart Trophy (most valuable player to his team)
- Monday, April 30: Jack Adams Award (top head coach) and NHL Foundation Player Award (community service)