Ottawa Senators' Mika Zibanejad, middle, celebrates his goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs with teammates Colin Greening, left, and Erik Condra in Ottawa on Saturday. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)
Injury after injury (after injury) has decimated what was supposed to be the core of the Ottawa Senators' lineup this year. Fortunately, the reserves were well prepared.
CBCSports.ca has been keeping a close eye on the next generation of NHL stars on Canada's seven teams, whether they're with the parent club, back in junior, or working on the "farm" in the AHL.
We'll periodically check in with these players throughout the 2012-13 season, no matter what league they're lacing up their skates in. In this edition, we look at the Ottawa Senators' Mika Zibanejad:
Mika Zibanejad Age: 19 Birthplace: Huddinge, Sweden Position: C/LW NHL club/draft position: Drafted 6th overall by Ottawa in the 2011 NHL entry draft NHL GP: 23 Stats in 2013: 14GP, 3G, 3A, +3, 2 PIM, 2 PPG
Injury after injury (after injury) has decimated what was supposed to be the core of the Ottawa Senators' lineup this year.
Fortunately, the reserves were well prepared.
With the likes of Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek, Erik Karlsson and Craig Anderson going down with injuries, it's remarkable that the Senators have rattled off five consecutive wins through Monday without key pieces in their active roster.
That's thanks in no small part to the Baby Sens from Ottawa's AHL affiliate in Binghamton, N.Y., including Mika Zibanejad, who have turned the pressure to perform at an NHL-calibre level into a showcase of the fact that they are, indeed, ready for the bright lights.
The scouting report on Zibanejad was that he had speed to burn, but here he showcases a nose for the net and excellent hand-eye coordination:
As Hockey Night In Canada's Craig Simpson pointed out, "What a great time for Zibanejad to get hot."
He also added an assist in that win on Saturday against the Leafs, a game after victimizing countryman Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers:
That Johnny-on-the-spot goal allowed the Sens to force overtime, and eventually take the win in a shootout.
Do Zibanejad (plus fellow youngsters Jakob Silfverberg and Colin Greening) have what it takes to lift a limping Ottawa club into the playoffs?
Justin PiercyOriginally from Fredericton, NB, Justin has worked in newsrooms for Astral Media Radio, Brunswick News Inc., the Toronto Star and CTV. But now he's here at CBCSports.ca to report on the sports you care about while also showing you stuff from the internet he thinks you might like.