That’s Nicklas Jensen, scoring on an end-to-end rush. Why do you care? Because the Canucks just drafted the Danish winger from the Oshawa Generals with the 29th overall pick in the 2011 draft. Here’s Laurence Gilman, announcing the pick to a chorus of boos and jeers from Minnesota Wild fans who still think it’s 2003.
Like many Canucks fans, we responded to the pick with complete bewilderment. Where’s Oshawa? Don’t they mean Ottawa? Is Jensen a soft or a hard J? Does Google have the answers I’m looking for? Of course it does. As a wise man (my friend Kevan Gilbert) once said, I think as a criticism of how we’ve come to rely on search engines, “If it’s not on Google, it doesn’t exist.” It’s pretty much true.
Here’s what Dobber Hockey (whose 2011 prospects report is a wise purchase) has to say about him.
Despite all the hubbub surrounding Swedish power winger Gabriel Landeskog, it’s surprising that an almost identical player has gone nearly unnoticed during his own solid campaign. 6’3 Danish winger Nicklas Jensen exceeded all expectations for himself during the 2010-11 season, falling a goal and an assist shy of the 30-30-60 mark. A tremendous competitor who carried Oshawa at times, Jensen firmly established himself as a first-round player.
So just what is the difference between Jensen and Landeskog? Beyond some minor physical differences – Jensen is taller, Landeskog lighter according to pre-combine measurements — the pair finished the year with remarkably similar numbers (although Landeskog played eight fewer games). While there’s no denying Landeskog appears to have the edge in the intangible categories and defensive ability, the gap really may not be all that large. After all, both are complimentary wingers who provide size and grit, but not the elite vision or offensive toolkits to do it themselves.
The difference might be that while a team will be drafting Landeskog with the hopes of an Iginla-type power forward — and a more realistic ceiling of an Andrew Ladd-esque player — Jensen’s projected future and ceiling are a lot closer. As such, if you’re a GM looking to nab the next great European power forward, save your chips and stay where you are in the draft order. One might just fall to you.
Obviously, as a Canucks fan, you have every reason to be skeptical Jensen will never amount to anything quite as sexy as described above. Recent history indicates that he’ll impress at training camp in September, narrowly miss making the team, and then suffer some mishap that ensures he’s somehow less impressive next year. But consider this startling fact: the Canucks’ track record with Danes is relatively spotless.
Plus, Jensen’s been a fairly prolific scorer at every level. Here’s a brief history, courtesy of Hockey’s Future:
2008-09: Jensen played for Herning in the Danish Under-20 league. In 28 games for that club, he scored 28 goals and added 15 assists for 43 points. Jensen played for Denmark at the 2009 Under-18 World Junior Championship (D-1B), where he picked up 1 assist in 5 games.
2009-10: Jensen played for Herning in Denmark’s top league, appearing in 34 games. He scored 12 goals and added 14 assists for 26 points, good for second in scoring on his team. Jensen played in 10 playoff games for Herning, scoring 6 goals and adding 4 assists for 10 points. He was named the Rookie of the Year in the Danish League. In international play, Jensen played for Denmark on both the Under-18 and Under-20 teams. In 5 games at the U-18 D-1A tournament, Jensen scored 13 goals and added 2 assists for 15 points. He was named the Top Forward of that tournament. At the U-20 D-1A tournament, Jensen scored 3 goals and added 2 assists for 5 points in 5 games. he was also named the Top Player on his team at this tournament. Jensen was chosen eighth overall at the 2010 CHL Import Draft by the OHL’s Oshawa Generals.
2010-11: Jensen joined the Oshawa Generals for his OHL rookie season, playing in 61 games for that team. He scored 29 goals and added 29 assists for 58 points, while also adding 42 penalty minutes. Jensen played for Denmark’s gold medalist Under-20 team at the D-1B tournament, where he scored 2 goals and 3 assists for 5 points in 5 games. Jensen played for Team Cherry at the 2011 CHL Home Hardware Top Prospects Game.
I’m intrigued by the minor mystery surrounding Jensen’s weight. He’s billed as a power forward, although most places have him listed at between 185 and 190 lbs. If that’s the case, then he definitely needs to bulk up. However, Canadian Press says he’s a much more promising 202 lbs. If that’s the case, he still needs to bulk up, but 200+ is a much better starting point.
Anyway, for more information on Jensen, spend more time Googling him. And send us anything interesting you find so we can pretend we already knew it. In closing, here’s another goal from Youtube:
I bet he does that all the time.Tags: Canucks, draft, jensen