With the news yesterday that prospect Mikael Wikstrand had returned to Sweden, apparently against the wishes of the Senators, the question was if the team would attempt to force his hand. We didn't have long to wait for an answer...
Bryan Murray says Mikael Wikstrand is suspended from playing in Sweden #Sens— Kyle Bukauskas (@SNkylebukauskas) September 25, 2015
Thanks to a transfer agreement between the NHL and the SHL, a suspension for not reporting to the Binghamton Senators will apply to all SHL hockey. Bryan Murray didn't really mince words when announcing it.
According to Murray, the only hockey Wikstrand will be playing in Sweden is beer league #Sens— Kyle Bukauskas (@SNkylebukauskas) September 25, 2015
The ball is now back in Wikstrand's court - his only choice for playing professional hockey is either come back to North America, or find a league without a transfer agreement such as the KHL.
Why did Wikstrand return to Sweden and risk his professional career? According to his agent, "personal reasons".
The Swedish D-man, ranked 10th in our Top 25 Under 25, was expected to be a part of the lineup in Binghamton this year to get some experience on North American ice with some potential time in Ottawa as a call-up. There has been some discussion all summer that he might decide to go back to Sweden if he wasn't making the big club out of camp, however, so this was not a completely unexpected turn of events.
An injury during the rookie tournament has meant he hasn't been able to participate fully in training camp.
Update: Wikstrand had the following to say on Twitter this afternoon.
Jag har valt att lämna Ottawa av personliga skäl då en nära familjemedlem är svårt sjuk. Jag vill nu vara hemma i Sverige pga av detta.— mikael wikstrand (@MWikstrand) September 25, 2015
For those who don't know Swedish, it roughly translates to "I have chosen to leave Ottawa for personal reasons when a close family member is seriously ill. I would now like to be home in Sweden because of this."
Update: Here is the full media scrum from Bryan Murray