Does Jannik Hansen Have Top-Six Ability?

Jeff Angus
July 18 2013 10:49AM

Jannik Hansen - Wikimedia Commons

286. That is the number of players who were selected ahead of Jannik Hansen at the 2004 NHL Draft, back when the draft was nine rounds long. Hansen quickly turned out to be quite the find by the Canucks scouts, adapting seamlessly to the North American game in the WHL with Portland in 2005-06.

Hansen went on to have a very good season as a 21-year-old in the AHL, recording 21 goals and 43 points with Manitoba in only 50 games. He would go on to play a few more AHL games over the next couple of years, but by 2008 he had established himself as a full time NHL player.

And he has only continued to get better year after year. 

Hansen started off as an energy winger on Vancouver’s fourth line. His best asset was (and still is) his speed and skating, but back then he wasn’t nearly as strong - on or off the puck - as he is now. His speed was always an attribute, and he showed some flashes of puck skill and vision, but for the most part Hansen went out and skated hard for 11 or 12 minutes a night.

As Hansen added muscle to his frame and confidence to his game, his ice time under Alain Vigneault increased. He has missed only one game over the past three seasons (due to the birth of twins). Hansen had 16 goals and 39 points in 2011-12, and he recorded 10 goals and 27 points this past season in 47 games. His career shooting rate is 10.4%, and during his career season back in 2011-12 he scored on 11.7% of his shots. The fact that he scored 16 goals while shooting at a similar rate to his career mark bodes well for his chances of doing it again (all else being equal).

We all know how Vigneault liked to utilize an offensive zone start strategy that helped the production of his top six forwards and hurt the production of his bottom six forwards. Hansen played primarily a bottom six role with the odd opportunity on a scoring line.

Corsi Rel QoC, as a quick refresher, is a measure of quality of opposition. It isn’t a perfect measure, but it does do a good job of telling us if a player is going up against top lines or third and fourth offensive units. It tells us who the coaches trust against the good players. Over the last three seasons, Hansen’s Corsi Rel QoC team ranks have been sixth, third, and fourth, respectively.

Even if you aren't a believer in advanced stats, this shouldn't surprise you. Hansen is one of the better defensive forwards on the team.

And this past season was the first time that Hansen saw over 50% of his shifts start off in the offensive zone (and this chart makes his 16-goal campaign in 2011-12 even more impressive). He was buried defensively in both 2010-11 and 2011-12.

Hockey Abstract’s Rob Vollman has put together historical player comparable charts, and here is a look at Hansen’s (with a more detailed explanation coming):

25

 

Jannik Hansen

82

16

23

 

 

 

 

 

 

Age

Year

Historical Match

GP

G

A

 

GP

G

A

PTS

Sim

25

2003

Matt Cooke

53

11.4

12.5

 

82

17.6

19.3

37.0

2.7

25

1987

Gaetan Duchesne

80

17.2

17.0

 

82

17.6

17.4

35.1

2.8

27

2007

Chris Kelly

75

10.8

18.4

 

82

11.8

20.1

31.9

3.1

25

1989

Bob Errey

78

14.4

14.0

 

82

15.1

14.7

29.9

3.2

26

1986

Jim Peplinski

80

13.0

24.0

 

82

13.3

24.6

37.9

3.2

25

2007

Tomas Plekanec

81

28.4

38.7

 

82

28.8

39.2

67.9

3.3

24

1984

Guy Carbonneau

79

15.7

23.9

 

82

16.3

24.8

41.1

3.4

27

2011

Kyle Brodziak

82

22.0

22.0

 

82

22.0

22.0

44.0

3.4

28

1991

Kelly Miller

78

10.7

29.6

 

82

11.2

31.1

42.4

3.5

28

1988

Jim Peplinski

79

9.2

18.2

 

82

9.5

18.9

28.4

3.5

 

 

Average

 

 

 

 

 

16.3

23.2

39.6

 

Here is some more information on the methodology behind the charts, from Vollman himself (and you can download them here):

Throughout the 2011-12 season the system was further refined with the assistance of several people, most notably Neil Greenberg, and among other improvements, it most notably includes only players from the post-expansion era (1967), and looks at shots, power play scoring and GVT in addition to the goals and assists it did previously.  It is therefore informally known as Snepsts67.

The method is reasonably simple: it searches post-expansion NHL history for players of a similar position and age whose era-adjusted statistics most closely match the target player, both for the current season, preceding season and previous career totals, in a 4:2:1 ratio.

The ten most similar players are used to set low-water, high-water and average scoring expectations for today's players, and also to initiate interesting conversations about a player's role and who he should be used.  Attached is a simple spreadsheet with this data for every NHL player who played at least a single game in each of the preceding two seasons.

The average of Hansen’s 10 comparables was a 16-goal, 40-point season. He scored 10 goals and had 27 points in 47 games. Over 82 games, that prorates to 17 goals and 47 points. Tomas Plekanec emerged as a top-six forward at the age of 25 after coming off of a similar season (this is just one example).

Hansen also led the Canucks in even strength points per 60 minutes in 2013 (from Hockey Analysis):

He was fifth on the team in P/60 in 2011-12, and ninth in 2010-11. Production per 60 minutes doesn't provide the whole picture on its own, but with context it can be very useful. For the most part, more ice time equals more production for forwards (the Tyler Bozak effect, if you will). This isn't always the case, but in general it is a reasonable assumption to make.

Assuming Hansen's ice time was bumped up a minure or two each night, it wouldn't be crazy to expect his production to increase accordingly, even if he doesn't actually play or perform any better in his role. 

Does Jannik Hansen have top-six upside? Perhaps that is the wrong question. A better one - why the heck isn’t he getting more consideration for a top-six spot?

Good teams have good players on the third and fourth lines. And moving Hansen up to line two may create a hole on line three. The Canucks may be better off going with two "second/third" lines anyway, as they have a lot of solid two-way wingers who can both check and score.

Hansen has proven he can produce in a defensive role against tough competition, and he brings a lot of elements you want out of a third line winger. What else can you ask for from a top-six forward?

Previously from Jeff (@anguscertified):

F2cf6fd9972ec927b678af6dba1e37be
Jeff shares his Canuck-related thoughts with the Army a few times per week. His work can also be found over at DobberHockey.com, as well as his personal blog, AngusCertified.com. Give him a follow on Twitter @anguscertified.
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#1 Thomas
July 18 2013, 10:55AM
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Best part about Jannik is that I think he gives 100% all the time. I love watching him play and it would be interesting to see him with some more min. The only thing that I didn't like was that when he is in a slump he will pass rather then take the shot. Also he can hit.

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#2 van
July 18 2013, 11:08AM
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Do you throw away the chemistry of Booth-Kesler-Higgins for Hansen though? If Kassian gets a chance of the top line, you potentially have Hansen and Burrows as wingers for your 'third' line. Need a reasonable centre to get that line decent ice time, but if Kassian comes good, that's a strong top 9.

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#3 Big Time
July 18 2013, 11:19AM
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Do any of the advanced stats have an ability to adjust for the "hands of stone" factor?

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#4 BrudnySeaby
July 18 2013, 11:22AM
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I think it's most interesting that his career year came when he was facing the toughest competition. Most interesting indeed.

Could it that those Top 6 opposition players just play a tad bit less of a greasy gritty game and that enables him with his own grit to come out ahead?

Well, if we keep him on the 3rd line but give him a quality playmaking 3C who knows what he can do!? Having 3 lines that could score would go a long way of making the Canucks a harder team to play against.

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#5 Matt
July 18 2013, 11:30AM
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Big Time wrote:

Do any of the advanced stats have an ability to adjust for the "hands of stone" factor?

Shooting percentage. It's not an advanced stat, and as Jeff noted, Hansen has shot 10.4% in his career. That's a pretty normal shooting percentage for a forward.

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#6 NM00
July 18 2013, 11:49AM
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It'll be interesting to see whether or not the Canucks approach Hansen about a contract extension this summer.

Considering his age and continual improvements, an extension similar to the one Higgins received might work for both parties.

If he is amenable to an extension, that is.

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#7 bob
July 18 2013, 11:52AM
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i love him for who he is...a 3rd line checking winger with some scoring ability

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#8 JFR
July 18 2013, 02:35PM
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My eyeball test from watching Hanson play with the twins was he didn't have the passing skills that a top 6 needs and he missed the net a lot in big PP situations. Shooting percentage does tell the whole story. The problem with the Canucks the last few years is they tried to make all top 3 lines speed skill lines and blew off the traditional 3rd line. Guys like Clarkson thrive in playing tough minutes for good teams and then cash in FA when a team like .... Uh the Leafs believe he is capable of more. Hanson is a poor mans Burrows and that's fine with me, not everyone has to score 30 goals to help a team win. Torts will place Hanson on the 3rd line and PK and he will play great. Guys in the bottom six need to be tough to play against and draw penalties. Guys like Hanson can take some of the tough minutes Kessler has to play and hopefully cut down on injuries.

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#9 JFR
July 18 2013, 02:36PM
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JFR wrote:

My eyeball test from watching Hanson play with the twins was he didn't have the passing skills that a top 6 needs and he missed the net a lot in big PP situations. Shooting percentage does tell the whole story. The problem with the Canucks the last few years is they tried to make all top 3 lines speed skill lines and blew off the traditional 3rd line. Guys like Clarkson thrive in playing tough minutes for good teams and then cash in FA when a team like .... Uh the Leafs believe he is capable of more. Hanson is a poor mans Burrows and that's fine with me, not everyone has to score 30 goals to help a team win. Torts will place Hanson on the 3rd line and PK and he will play great. Guys in the bottom six need to be tough to play against and draw penalties. Guys like Hanson can take some of the tough minutes Kessler has to play and hopefully cut down on injuries.

Meant Shooting percentage doesn't always tell the whole story......

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#10 JDM
July 18 2013, 02:38PM
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In 2013, among all RW's in the NHL who played at least half the season, Jannik Hansen's scoring rate (points per 60) was ninth.

NINTH.

Now, that could be written off as a blip. But in 2011-2012, he was just inside the top 30 over an 82 game season. That is borderline first line level production in the NHL, not just top 6. He's done it two years in a row. And as you note, his deployment wasn't even at 50% offensive zone starts until last year. He certainly isn't playing with the team's best forwards, and he isn't getting a ton of PP time.

Hansen is easily a top six forward. In terms of potential, the better question is whether he has first line scoring potential. Recent indicators suggest that the answer is yes.

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#11 J21
July 18 2013, 03:23PM
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There are still people who accuse Hansen of having "hands of stone"? Seriously? The guy has shown some very nice moves already.

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#12 Matt
July 18 2013, 03:57PM
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NM00 wrote:

It'll be interesting to see whether or not the Canucks approach Hansen about a contract extension this summer.

Considering his age and continual improvements, an extension similar to the one Higgins received might work for both parties.

If he is amenable to an extension, that is.

Agree 100%. I'd love to see the Canucks lock up until he's 32 or 33. He's definitely owed a good raise too. Offer him five or six more years at $2.5 per and lock him down.

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#13 Canucks92
July 18 2013, 05:21PM
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@Matt

We would be very, very lucky to lock up Hansen at 2.5. It really all depends on this season, but when all is said and done, wouldn't be surprised if it was closer to 4.

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#14 Mantastic
July 18 2013, 05:25PM
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@Matt

shooting % doesn't matter that much when you can't hit the net most of the time.

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#15 hanfiSh
July 18 2013, 05:32PM
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@JDM

He also played in Tappara Tampere during the lockout and recorded 7G and 17Pts in 20Gp... I believe he played as the teams #1 CENTRE as well, ahead of some unknown Florida prospect named Aleksander Barkov.

That being said, I think he's best served in the exact role he has in Vancouver being the "Danish Army Knife"

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#16 Lemming
July 18 2013, 06:36PM
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@Canucks92

That's my first thought too, but then again, are you arguing that Hansen is considerably better than Higgins?

Let's keep him in perspective too, even though I still tend to think he'll go for higher, I still wonder how much better than Higgins Hansen is. Maybe 3 is more realistic than 4? Maybe 4 is? Maybe 2.5 is? It's a good question for all those number crunchers to compare the two.

I don't crunch numbers. Too lazy.

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#17 NM00
July 18 2013, 06:50PM
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Canucks92 wrote:

We would be very, very lucky to lock up Hansen at 2.5. It really all depends on this season, but when all is said and done, wouldn't be surprised if it was closer to 4.

It really depends on whether or not he wants to go to free agency.

If he hits the open market, $4 mil seems like a reasonable target for him.

Also, IIRC, there was a contentious negotiation between Hansen and management a few years ago where he had to go to arbitration to get the one way contract and raise he deserved.

Not sure if that will play a role in negotiations...

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#18 kelly
July 18 2013, 09:06PM
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NO!!!!! They should have traded him long ago

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#19 Matt
July 18 2013, 09:56PM
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Mantastic wrote:

shooting % doesn't matter that much when you can't hit the net most of the time.

He wouldn't be leading the team in points/60 and scoring 16 goals with limited time in the offensive zone if he wasn't hitting the net.

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#20 Lemming
July 18 2013, 10:55PM
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Also, just to remind people, he has played a very Higgins-like role the past couple of seasons, also spending time with the twins. And if there's two things the twins do, it's increase the production of their wingers and score a ton at even strength.

If I remember correctly, Hansen score a good number of his goals/points playing wing with the Sedins, so I'd be cautious with over-valuing him.

Hansen-Sedins WOWY anyone?

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#21 2gangsta2care
July 18 2013, 11:33PM
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I heard an announcer during a game last year say that Jannick spends his summers in wpg. I also think his wife's from there. I'd hate to see him go but i think he's a flight risk.

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#22 Mantastic
July 19 2013, 12:27AM
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@Matt

look at who else is ahead of him... hardly a power house line up. if you actually watch him play, you know he misses the net A LOT.

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#23 argoleas
July 19 2013, 12:32AM
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NM00 wrote:

It'll be interesting to see whether or not the Canucks approach Hansen about a contract extension this summer.

Considering his age and continual improvements, an extension similar to the one Higgins received might work for both parties.

If he is amenable to an extension, that is.

I hope so, and I do expect Higgins-type numbers at the minimum. But I don't believe it will happen.

The first main challenge here may be the salary cap. Even if next year the cap goes up as expected, the team will need to resign the Sedins, Kassian, Lack, and I believe they will have cap hits for some of their young players that make the jump. I doubt that Sedins will extend now, or for less (I guess they will see how the whole Tortorella thing works out). Even if Kassian has a bad season, he will get a raise. If he has a good one.... I suppose they can just go ahead and sigh him now, and worry about the cap later. Most of their other core contracts don't end until at least 2 years, so not much room to maneuver. If things become tight, I suppose they can always use their last buyout to make room.

But in the end, I will agree that Hansen will wait until next off-season to see what his market value will be. If he has a good season, and if we go by the insanity of this year's free agency frenzy, he may be rubbing his hands in anticipation next year.

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#24 nas19ua
July 19 2013, 02:38AM
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I like Hansen, but I'd trade him away this season. He has decent trade value due to his cap hit this season and skill he brings to the table. But I'm affraid we can't afford to resign him, he's never gonna sign Higgins type of deal. He'll operate numbers like 4 mil per, so we just don't have cap space. Burr will easily replace him in bottom-6 role, and Jensen is a natural right wing. So I think Jannik is by far our best trading asset.

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#25 Mantastic
July 19 2013, 09:31AM
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@nas19ua

wow Hansen at 4m per? glad you're not a GM.

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#26 nas19ua
July 20 2013, 01:25AM
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@Mantastic

I didn't mean that I'd give Hansen 4 millions. I just guess it'll be his asking price on the open market. I would never sign Jannik Hansen for more than 2.5 per.

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#27 Bull
July 20 2013, 10:21AM
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JFR wrote:

Meant Shooting percentage doesn't always tell the whole story......

Doesn't matter. That you can't spell his name correct just confirms you got the rest wrong as well!

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#28 JFR
July 20 2013, 04:45PM
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Bull wrote:

Doesn't matter. That you can't spell his name correct just confirms you got the rest wrong as well!

I'm sure your great spelling skillz and hockey sense of Hansen... As a first liner confirms that MGs replace is definitely posting on Canucks army. Good luck

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#29 Ruprecht
July 20 2013, 11:29PM
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Yes. This kid has been a treat to watch develop. He's earned some gravy time, but it's a packed house up there which opens a giant can of worms. If he keeps getting better somebody has to move to give him those minutes. He's also pretty great with his role now, tough to play against. I'd love to see him sign for Higgins money, the sooner the better.

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#30 come on really
July 21 2013, 06:14PM
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trade hansen? thank god you arent gm! this isn't nhl 13 buddy, burrows in the bottom six at 4.5m? LOL

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#31 Mantastic
July 22 2013, 09:46AM
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@nas19ua

how does Hansen get $4m in the open market? who are you comparing him to? even though the open market is crazy, it's not that crazy...

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#32 5minutesinhebox
July 26 2013, 02:54AM
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van wrote:

Do you throw away the chemistry of Booth-Kesler-Higgins for Hansen though? If Kassian gets a chance of the top line, you potentially have Hansen and Burrows as wingers for your 'third' line. Need a reasonable centre to get that line decent ice time, but if Kassian comes good, that's a strong top 9.

What chemistry are you speaking of? Booth and Kesler should never be on a line together without a natural playmaker, they have no chemistry at all. And Higgins is not a 2nd line player. And you would put Burrows (probably the teams most complete player) on the 3rd line? If by some miracle Kassian were to become the 1st line player he showed glimpses of, a line of Burrows - Kesler - Booth (or Hansen) could be intriguing. Burrows adds the playmaker the line needs, they are all exceptional skaters and all have a nice physical edge to their game. The biggest problem I have is Booth has no defensive game at all (unlike Hansen), and seems completely disinterested at times.

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#33 5minutesinhebox
July 26 2013, 03:01AM
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kelly wrote:

NO!!!!! They should have traded him long ago

On what basis would you trade him? He is probably the teams hardest working player and has shown he can play in almost any roll he is given. The guy is invaluable, and is a steal at his cap hit. You obviously know absolutely nothing about hockey if you think otherwise.

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