With the NHL’s trade deadline now less than a week away, Canucks fans have spent the last few days debating which of their prospects Mike Gillis and co. should consider off-limits. The name that comes up most frequently: winger Nicklas Jensen.
It’s easy to see why. Jensen is exactly what you want an NHL forward to be these days — big. But it’s not just that. He’s also got some soft hands for a large man. As evidence, we submit his lovely shootout goal for the Chicago Wolves Wednesday night in their 3-2 win over the Oklahoma City Barons. Feast your eyes on this fabulous move, as Jensen pulls off the deke made famous by Peter Forsberg to make veteran goalie Yann Danis look silly:
It’s not a new move, but that’s okay. This one was made famous by guys like Forsberg and Pavel Datsyuk, two names with whom a guy like Jensen would do well to keep associating himself.
That said, Jensen doesn’t need to draw comparisons to Forsberg and Datsyuk to get Canuck fans even more excited about him than they already are. He just needs to be money in the shootout, as he is here. Alain Vigneault has been without a go-to shootout option since the NHL decided to ruin games with the postgame skills competition after the 2005 lockout. If Jensen can be a bona fide threat, he’ll be beloved in this town.
At least for a week. Then he’ll be blamed every time he doesn’t score. Then, after a few times, Canuck fans will want him traded, and then they’ll want the GM fired for not trading him, and the coach fired for continuing to use him. Or something like that.
According to the Wolves’ coaches, Jensen still has a bit of growing to do before he’s ready for the NHL. But a move like this makes it clear that he’s not lacking in the skill department. Here’s hoping he’s showcasing that skill in a Canucks jersey sooner rather than later.
The only concern I see here: Jensen’s wearing number 36. If he wants to avoid some Dane-on-Dane violence, he’ll have to relinquish that number once he gets to Vancouver. Seriously don’t mess with Jannik Hansen. Not only has he been known to get so mad he cannot be calmed down, but he’s a repeat offender in the NHL. He’s crazy, man.
s/t to Rhys J.