In quite the surprise move, the Washington Capitals announced on Tuesday they recalled center Mattias Sjogren from Farjestad of the Swedish Elite League.
The 24-year old center was loaned to Farjestad on Nov. 30 and recorded nine points (3 G, 6 A, 22 PIMs) in 28 games. Sjogren added four points (2 G, 2 A) in 11 playoff games, tied for fourth on his team.
Sjogren, 6’3”, 220, appeared in 19 games with the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL) this season and recorded five points (two goals, three assists) in his first professional season in North America before being loaned to the SEL.
Capitals General Manager George McPhee had some very pointed words back in November for the Swedish center after Sjogren opted to return to his native country to play this season instead of finishing the season with Hershey.
“It’s probably a mistake. He needs to develop here and wasn’t prepared to make the commitment to do so. When we signed him,we told him we had a job available and promised him we’d give him a look this year. His training camp wasn’t good enough to keep him at the start of the year and he was developing okay, but I guess he got impatient and decided to go home. And if you’re going to quit on us you might as well go.”
Sjogren’s agent inflamed things further, making a statement on Twitter that the Capitals had “promised he would not be sent to the AHL for more than a few games.” McPhee responded to that statement saying, “You can’t promise anyone a job in the NHL. You can promise them a great look and give them an opportunity. We told him we’d give him an opportunity this year, but you’ve got to earn that job.”
With those comments as a background, it seems an unlikely situation that Sjogren would be recalled for the NHL playoffs, yet that’s exactly what has happened.
Sjogren has a big body with willingness to mix it up, but his skating is not on a par with NHL talent. The guess here is the Caps brought Sjogren back as a practice body, maybe allowing Cody Eakin to got back to AHL Hershey to play in the Calder Cup playoffs for them. Sjogren is not eligible to play for Hershey since he was not on their cut-down day roster.
It seems highly unlikely, and only under the most dire of needs, that Sjogren would make his NHL debut in the playoff series against Boston.
Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Nats and the Caps, and previously wrote Nats News Network and Caps News Network. Dave’s first sports hero was Bobby Dandridge. Follow Dave’s Capitals coverage on Twitter @CapitalsDSP.