Canucks Player Autopsy: Nicklas Jensen

Sorry Bob. - Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

The pride of Denmark & the hope of Vancouver. Nope, no pressure at all.

Who's this guy?

Nicklas Jensen

Position: RW

Shoots: Left

Height: 6'3''

Weight: 203 lbs

Born: March 6, 1993 (geez I'm old) in Herning, Denmark. The same city also produced Frans Nielsen (the first NHL-player of Danish origin), Peter Regin and Frederik Andersen.

Drafted in the first round (29th overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft by the Vancouver Canucks. This was one of the better drafts for Vancouver in recent memory (at least on paper) with Jensen in the first round followed by David Honzik, Alexandre Grenier, Joseph LaBate, Ludwig Blomstrand, Frank Corrado, Pathrik Westerholm and Henrik Tommernes

What'd he do?

Jensen tried to crack the roster in pre-season but an injury against the Oilers slowed his progress and the team elected to send him to Utica in late October. He'd stay with the Comets for 54 games and went 15-6-21 before being recalled by Vancouver in early March when Zack Kassian got suspended for three games for boarding Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon.

Jensen slotted in alongside Ryan Kesler and Chris Higgins in his first game of the year against Calgary. By March 14 he impressed enough to jump to the top line with Henrik Sedin and Alex Burrows and scored the first goal of his NHL career in a losing effort against Washington. Jensen would add two more goals and an assist in the next three games, giving fans something to cheer for during a depressing stretch run. Not long after that Jensen lost his spot on the top line and, by March 27, found himself on the fourth line with less than ten minutes of icetime, a coaching decision that prompted one curmudgeonly scribe to describe as  "goofy stupid."

Jensen would go pointless in the final seven games of the year.

So was he any good?

Season Games Points SH% Corsi For% Fenwick For % OZS%
2013-2014 17 6 10 58.1 37.8 43.4
2012-2013 2 0 0 49 57.4 44.4

There isn't much to dig into here without at least 40 games played. Ignoring the amount of games, his OZS% starts were second highest on the team outside of the two games Benn Ferriero played. Being pegged on the first line brought not only the choices zone starts but also the best of the opposition; Jensen had the 8th highest highest QoC (29%) on the roster, sandwiched between regulars Edler and Higgins. His PDO% (98.5%) was eerily similar to Higgins' as well (98.7%). As a potential tweener between the second and third lines next season I'd expect his OZS% to drop, but so too should the QoC which should open up some scoring chances.

What'd we like?

Cool. So what did we hate?

Consistency is a problem with basically everyone on this roster, but even down in Utica it took Jensen until December to start scoring. Right before his call-up he scored 9 goals in 14 games with the Comets and seemed to go boom or bust again with Vancouver. All of this is to be expected from a prospect, but getting more consistent production - especially if he's gifted with increasingly more offensive assignments - will be important. Torts was also critical of his defensive style as well, but first thing is "yeah that's Torts" and secondly, at 21 years old and having yet to play a full season at the NHL level, any defensive liability should shored up over time and exposure to the pace of the game.

So what now?

Hockey's Future ranks Jensen as Vancouver's #2 overall prospect just behind Bo Horvat and he's certainly one of the better stories to watch going into this rebuild/reload/re-whatever year of Canucks hockey. The concern with such a young talent is getting him the right assignments with good linemmates; otherwise his development could plateau. He seemed to gel well with Burrows, but if the top line stays as is Jensen will show up in camp ready to stake his claim to the second line. If the new coach truly rolls four lines it may not be terrible for him to drop to the third line to spread the scoring and round out the defensive aspect of his game. Wherever he lands if he can continue to show his speed, hands and creativity in front of the net that we saw in glimpses this March, he'll remain a core piece for the next generation for the franchise which badly needs them.

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