We haven’t heard a whole lot from Jannik Hansen since the Danish forward packed up and headed to Southern Finland to ply his trade during the NHL lockout, at least in comparison to the other two Canucks currently playing overseas. While Dale Weise continues to light it up in the Netherlands (he’s up to 42 points in 16 games now), and Cory Schneider is making appearances on the highlight reel, albeit as the victim, Hansen has just quietly fit into his team, Tappara, the way he often does. The best we could do was an infographic on his sponsor-heavy jersey, which may as well have just been a full-page ad for Olvi soft drinks.
But we do have some Hansen news for you, finally.
First, while a number of NHLers used the Christmas break as a sort of drop-dead date for their overseas sojourns, with Erik Karlsson, SM-Liiga’s top-scoring defenceman, deciding on Thursday to be one of them, Hansen agreed on the same day to stay with Tappara for the remainder of the season (unless the NHL lockout ends). Here’s the glorious press release, via Tappara’s website, run through the comedy stylings of Google Translate:
Tappara NHL confirmations Kurtis Foster and Jannik Hansen are playing Tappara in the future, when the NHL’s contract talks have not taken place the necessary progress. Hansen Danish and Canadian Foster have stayed in Tampere and the team will continue to be happy.
How touching that the team will continue to be happy. The pursuit of happiness is the meaning of life, after all.
When it comes to Hansen, though, some fans actually aren’t. The winger hasn’t actually impressed all that much for Tappara. Even the news of his extension was met with a few disgruntled shrugs.
“I have to wonder how Hansen has an NHL contract,” Tappara fan Lisbeth Salander commented on the press release, adding that she expected more from an NHL player.
But, while we hate to sound like that other Canucks blog (you know, the one that dabbles in advanced counting), Lisbeth needs to look at the underliers for context. Hansen has 13 points (5 goals and 8 assists) in 15 games, an average of .87 points per game. Over a full season, this would make him one of Tappara’s top scorers. The club’s leading goalscorer and top-line centre, Alexander Barkov (a NHL first-round draft pick), has 28 points in 32 games. Leading point-getter Ville Nieminen has 31 points in 31 games. At Hansen’s pace, he’d have 27 points in 32 games.
Edit: this post originally had a section on Jannik Hansen’s ice-time being team-low, a stat that I pulled from the SM-Liiga website. As commenter “Tappara fan” pointed out, that was super-duper wrong. The same page now says that Hansen’s ice-time is one of Tappara’s best, proving that either a) the website either became sentient and deliberately tricked me or b) something was wrong with it when I was doing my research.
Either way, Hansen’s likely about to get a boost in playing time and production, because his linemates are about to improve. The aforementioned Barkov has left Tappara to star for Team Finland in the World Junior tournament, leaving the club without a first-line centre, so Hansen will be moving over.
Hansen will play between Ville Nieminen and Antti Erkin Juntti on Tappara’s first line, beginning Friday versus Helsinki HIFK in Tappara’s first game after the Christmas break. At the time of this writing, that game is in progress, and Hansen already has an assist on Tappara’s first goal.
In closing, this is an ad for what I think might be some sort of Tappara ladies night in early January. And you thought the NHL didn’t know how to market to women: