The Canucks will be one Dane short to start the year.
In what may come as a bit of a surprise move to many, Nicklas Jensen will start the season down on the farm in sunny Utica.
Jensen showed quite well in the preseason, limiting some of the puck moving and awareness mistakes he made when called up last year, while still flashing his above-average shot and propensity to let it rip. He had 4 points (2-2-4) and 12 shots in 6 preseason appearances.
Obviously decisions do get made from an organizational stability and asset management standpoint sometimes. It isn't always performance-based in a vacuum, as much as we'd like it to be. Jensen was the easiest player left on the roster to send down, as he is still waiver-exempt and on a two-way deal that will see him make $70k at the AHL level. Also, much like Shinkaruk, he can certainly benefit from a top line role with the Comets, where his TOI will be boosted and he will get to play in close scenarios with a greater variety of zone start deployment. I would imagine he will also see ample power play time there. Always a good thing for a volume shooter with a developing quick release.
Don't be too disappointed for him. I would imagine he and/or Shink will be the first shuttled up when someone is injured or underperforms. They both still have developmental work to do, and they won't be long for the AHL, you'll see. Each has NHL-caliber play in them that will almost certainly be tapped into as soon as this year.
UPDATE 2X: OPENING NIGHT ROSTER "SET"
By moving Jensen down, the Canucks sit at 14 forwards and 8 defense. Today was the deadline for waiver moves, so anything done by tomorrow at 4pm est will have to be a non-waiver move. This leaves Bo Horvat and Frank Corrado as two waiver-exempt options to be sent down (Corrado to Utica, Horvat to juniors).
Corrado was injured in his final exhibition and is deemed "out for a bit," whatever that means. He did not practice with the team today. I would peg him as the candidate to go down as it is unlikely the team carries 8 defensemen, with the second extra being both injured and waiver-exempt.
This means that Bo Horvat, who was injured on his first shift in Edmonton several nights ago, may be staying with the big club, at least for now. I would anticipate he will be one of the two healthy scratches on Opening Night, barring a recovery from his shoulder injury.
I want to take this opportunity to correct a few common misunderstandings of the rules regarding aged 18 and 19 year old players.
A team may use a "slide" to effectively delay the start of an Entry Level Contract (ELC) for a player who signs his first contract at 18 or 19 years old, and who's 20th birthday does not fall between September 16 and December 31 of the same year he signed his first contract.If he signed at 18 and his 19th birthday does not fall between September 16 and December 31, then they can slide the contract twice.
The rule regarding the 9 game limit applies to the start date of an ELC. If a player that is 18 or 19 plays more than 9 games with his club, a contract slide cannot be utilized. That is all.
Horvat's 18th birthday was on April 15th of the year he signed his ELC. Thus his contract start date can slide twice (h/t Neil B), provided he does not play any more than 9 NHL games. The club already used a slide year on Horvat last season. They can use one more.
The Canucks can use Horvat for as many games as they would like. But if they use him for more than 9 games, his ELC starts and can no longer slide. If he plays more than 10 games, his contract can no longer be reserved while he is in juniors, and counts against the cap and 50 SPC limit. Regardless of either of these rules, if they decide to demote him his junior club still has a first right to claim him because he is an age 18-19 player who's 20th birthday falls after December 31 of this year. He cannot go to Utica until his junior season ends.
Opening Night Forward Lines Prediction:
Based on today's practice skaters and lines I anticipate the opening night lines will be as follows:
Scratch: Sestito, Horvat