For the first time since training camp, Mattias Sjogren’s name was above a locker in the Captials’ dressing room at KCI.
On Tuesday Washington announced that it had recalled the Swedish center, who failed to make the NHL roster out of training camp and then left for Europe in late November when things didn’t go as he planned in North America. Sjogren appeared in 19 games for the AHL’s Hershey Bears before exercising a clause in his contract to return home.
Sjogren, 24, is expected to be a practice player for the Capitals in the postseason and is eligible to play in the NHL playoffs if the team would want to use him. At this time, though, it seems highly unlikely that Sjogren would make his NHL debut in the postseason.
The recall is a bit surprising, given General Manager George McPhee’s harsh comments from when Sjogren opted to leave for Sweden.
“It’s probably a mistake. He needs to develop here and wasn’t prepared to make the commitment to do so,” McPhee said on Nov. 30. “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 OK, 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.”
At that time, McPhee said that he believed Sjogren’s ceiling as a player in the NHL is as a fourth-line center. “He probably doesn’t have the footspeed to play any higher in the lineup than that,” said McPhee who also took shots at Sjogren’s agent Ritch Winter that day calling him “Rico Winters.”
After returning to his home country, Sjogren appeared in 28 games with Farjestad BK of the Swedish Elite League. In that time he recorded three goals, six assists, 22 penalty minutes and a minus-9 rating.