Senators send rookie Zibanejad back to Sweden Staff

10/26/2011 4:28:38 PM

Ottawa Senators forward Mika Zibanejad is heading back to Sweden.

The club announced on Wednesday that the 18-year-old forward, who the club selected with the sixth pick in the 2011, will be returned to Djurgarden of the Swedish Elite League.

"I think at 18 years of age, he was playing in the last little bit to survive and not to not make mistakes rather than be a creative kind of kid that we think he'll turn out to be," general manager Brian Murray said.

"Having talked to management in Djurgarden, they really want him back. He is going to be a legitimate first-line player for them a power play guy. He might not reach that status with our team this year."

In nine games with Ottawa, Zibanejad recorded one assist and had a minus-3 ranking.

Once a junior-eligible rookie appears in 10 NHL games, the first year of his entry-level contract is used up so the nine-game mark is typically a decision time for NHL clubs.

"I think it's the best thing for him," head coach Paul MacLean told the media at practice on Wednesday.

Zibanejad, who will remain in Sweden for the season will still be eligible for the World Junior Hockey Championship.

"I really wanted to stay but they have more experience in this stuff than I do," said Zibanejad. "I think this is best for me and I'm excited to go back home."