Posted by: Adventures in Pucking | January 7, 2012

Man of the Day 1/7: Mika Zibanejad

Mika Zibanejad

Born April 2, 1993 (age 18) in Stockholm, Sweden

Center/prospect for the Ottawa Senators

Did this kid make headlines recently? Let’s find out! Mika’s family is a real melting pot – his father is Iranian, while his mother is Finnish, and he has a half brother who plays hockey in Swedish Division 2. He was six when he began playing hockey, but he only played seven games with the Hammarby IF hockey club when it went bankrupt (ouch!). He then moved to AIK IF and began playing junior hockey there. After that, Djurgårdens IF took him for their J-18 and J-20 teams, and in January 2011 he scored his first Elitserien goal against Modo (home of former Thrasher Rob Schremp)! He was so good that Lokomotiv Yaroslavl picked him in the 2010 KHL Junior Draft, but he eventually signed a two-year extension with Djurgårdens.

All smiles at training camp.

Then came the 2011 NHL Draft. The Ottawa Senators picked him 6th overall, and he signed a three-year entry level contract with them. He impressed them at training camp, and he made his NHL debut with them in their season opener against the Detroit Red Wings. In that game he scored his first point – an assist on a Filip Kuba goal. But alas, after nine games (the window rookies get to show teams what they have), he was sent back to Sweden. All was not lost, though. He made the Swedish team for World Juniors, and in the gold medal game against Russia he scored the game winning goal in overtime to give Sweden their first WJC gold since 1981!  Fair warning, the following video has commentary in Swedish.

 

Watch out, Sens fans, I think you’ll see more of him next season.

– Krista


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