The only Senators prospect left in Europe (Прости, Никита) has turned a few heads this year. With a solid World Juniors and an exceptional first half of the year with SEL-2 team Mora, the Swede quickly started to look like something way better than a 7th rounder.
So much so that some hardware is coming his way. The 'Best National Team Player in HockeyAllsvenskan' award, that is handed out on very vague grounds to anyone in the league that has represented his nation in any way, shape or form. At least the jury provided an explanation.
"Mikael Wikstrand provided a splendid performance at the World Junior Championship in Russia and was named the best defenceman by the Swedish coaches. Mikael had the best +/- rating on the team and was a contributing factor to the Junior Crowns making it to the final. He is very valuable to his team with his maturity and decisiveness."
A somewhat more prestigious award was handed out tonight, local time, when the annual 'Golden Cage' award is presented to the best junior player in the league. Wikstrand was a finalist for that award as well, but fell short to Capitals prospect and recent first-rounder Filip Forsberg.
Wikstrand has put up 23 (11+12) points in 42 games this year, but only 3 of them in his last 22 games.