Färjestad BK of the Swedish Hockey League announced this morning that defenceman Mikael Wikstrand had signed a four-year extension with the team. Wikstrand, an Ottawa Senators prospect ranked second in the Senators' system by Corey Pronman last summer, had been a controversial topic for Sens fans for a lot of last season. After being told he'd likely have to start in Binghamton, he fled suddenly back to Sweden to be close to his brother who was battling leukemia. After a long stalemate, the Sens finally relented in January and loaned him to Färjestad for the rest of the season. Some saw a team that wasn't sensitive to the needs of their younger players, while others saw a player who was willing to do anything to get out from under his contractual agreements to go home.
Swedish newspaper Värmlands Folkblad had a little more news on the signing. The Sens had given the green light for Wikstrand to stay with the Swedish club for four more years. The contract has no out-clause, not even for the KHL, so Wikstrand will be staying in Sweden until the summer of 2020 at least. Wikstrand admitted that it was pretty hard on him when he was sitting in a contract stalemate with Ottawa in the fall. He also was asked about his girlfriend, Dragana Mrksic, who is playing for Karlstad. He was quick to emphasize that although that was nice, the only reason he wanted to be in Sweden was to be with his sick brother.
Wikstrand closed by commenting that his NHL dream isn't over, but he may have burned all bridges for returning to North America. He'll only be 26 when this contract is over, meaning he could have a Jori Lehtera-like impact in the NHL, but it seems more likely he won't be coming over. As our Swedish friend from Habs Eyes on the Prize put it:
We'll have updates if Sens GM Pierre Dorion has comments on the news.