Silfverberg set to make NHL debut tonight
Ottawa's most highly-anticipated international arrival in nearly a year is in the city now, and he's expected to make his NHL debut tonight: Jakob Silfverberg will be in the lineup for the Ottawa Senators as they look to eliminate the New York Rangers from the Stanley Cup Finals.
No pressure, kid. (Sound familiar?)
Actually, there is a fair bit of pressure, but Silfverberg came out of the Swedish Elite League playoff pressure-cooker looking like a million bucks, so there's reason to believe he'll be fine. He'll also be joined in the lineup by countryman Daniel Alfredsson, as good a mentor as a young Swedish forward could ask for (assuming Alfredsson isn't sour about Silfverberg breaking his SEL playoff scoring record, of course).
Still, although he's been through the SEL playoffs, the NHL post-season is a vastly different animal. In the words of The 6th Sens' Stefan G:son, Silfverberg might "struggle to adjust going from the low-tempo SEL to the intensity of an NHL playoff game." Adrenaline will surely be flowing, but it can only take someone so far.
Some were calling the possibility of dressing Silfverberg a "pretty terrible idea," while others tried quelling the flames burning ever-higher with expectations of the Swedish league MVP. But he's in, and that news is blowing up the Twitter machine.
So what can we expect from the Swedish phenom? Well, he's got a wicked shot, so hopefully he'll be making Henrik Lundqvist's life miserable (or at least the lives of the defencemen blocking shots in front of Lundqvist). He was alongside Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek in the morning line rushes, so he'll likely be given an early opportunity on the team's top line, but Paul MacLean won't be hesitate to bump him down if it looks like Silfverberg is overwhelmed by the intensity at Scotiabank Place and the pressure of the game.
One thing I expect: Scotiabank Place will absolutely have to mount an 'Oh, ah, Silfverberg! Say oh, ah, Silfverberg' chant at least once during the game.