It wasn't that long ago that it felt like the only sure-fire prospect in the comically thin cupboard that is the Vancouver Canucks farm system was Nicklas Jensen, their first overall pick (29th) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. But then, as has happened before for every single NHL team, expectations weren't met.
He couldn't crack Vancouver's roster after training camp the past two seasons, his consistency and work ethic was challenged, he couldn't find his rhythm in Utica and with the acquisition last season of Sven Baertschi coupled with the standout play of Bo Horvat and the promising - a term that's always debatable! - rookie efforts from Jake Virtanen, Hunter Shinkaruk, Jared McCann, not to mention the hope that there is more to see in the near future from Brendan Gaunce, Ronalds Kenins and Cole Cassels and the long-term hope that Brock Boeser becomes Brock Lesner, Jensen felt all but forgotten.
So the fact he was traded today along with a sixth rounder in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft for RW Emerson Etem (coincidentally selected 29th in the draft the year before Jensen's selection) isn't terribly shocking. Etem's arrival comes after finding himself in AV's doghouse (for Tanner Glass which is just a knee slapper!) during his brief tenure in New York feels strangely familiar, but not shocking either. As Benning said in his conference call after the trade was announced, it seems that both players need a change of scenery which seems spot on.
And while we're at it, going back in time to read this is comedy gold.
Etem seems intriguing enough: kid's got wheels, he's already the heaviest guy on the team and he hasn't even put the jersey on yet and he's got history with WD and Shinkaruk for that matter. He's also battled his own consistency issues and now lands on his third team in four years. Then there's this (but, hey, blame AV!)
So it's low risk/low reward for both teams, but Vancouver gets the edge based on experience. Jensen was going no where, so unless he goes all Cam Neely now the loss is minimal. In return, it's tough to know what to expect from Etem (Benning clearly has some thoughts) so if he can paired well and play responsible with his assignments, I don't see a downside, especially given the current standard of this team is pegged to the minimal "try not to tank too hard" category. Injuries are a given, so he'll get his crack at stepping up in short order.
What say you?