September 24 2013 02:43PM
Nicklas Jensen is sad, and he doesn't care who knows it. (Image via Flickr )
It appears that the #JensenTrain has been stalled for the time being with the young talented winger reportedly being sent down to Utica to work his way back from a shoulder injury (sustained in last Saturday's game from hell for the Canucks). Meanwhile, Jordan Schroeder, who got hurt in the same game, is expected to miss an extended period of time with an ankle injury that we still don't know very much about.
It's certainly a rough break for both guys, as they each seemed to have a realistic shot at earning a spot on the opening night roster heading into camp.
Some thoughts just past the jump on what that means for both of the young players, and the Canucks, with the regular season opener in San Jose being just over a week away.
Hearing #Canucks forward Nicklas Jensen has a shoulder injury - Jordan Schroeder looking at 2-3 weeks with ankle injury.— News1130 Sports (@News1130Sports) September 24, 2013
#Canucks forward Nick Jensen's agent Anton Thun says his client will go down to Utica - get healthy and work his way back.— News1130 Sports (@News1130Sports) September 24, 2013
While some people aren't fans of Schroeder as a player, I was actually pleasantly surprised by his play last season. He showed me enough in his abbreviated stint with the Canucks to make me believe that he's a legitimate NHL player. And since there weren't really any other names that jumped off the page at me when I scanned the team's bottom-6 centre options a few weeks ago, I figured he had as good a shot as anyone to land the favourable gig of playing between Jannik Hansen and Chris Higgins on the 3rd line.
For what it's worth, he barely played with Higgins last season, but in the 113+ minutes of 5v5 time he saw next to Hansen, they had a 71.4% Goals For rate. I thought he definitely had some flashes in his 31 games last season, which is all you can ask for from a guy getting his first taste of the NHL.
Unfortunately for him, his preseason lasted less than 2 periods; he injured his ankle blocking a shot in his debut against Edmonton. By now you're probably aware of John Tortorella's thoughts on the X-Ray machines in Edmonton, but we haven't really heard anything regarding a second opinion, so it's difficult to say exactly what the extent of the injury is. If he's only going to miss a few weeks, it's probably not broken or fractured, meaning it's likely just a bad bruise. But we'll see.
While he has been sitting out, Bo Horvat has been doing his best to convince people that he can hang with the big boys at the NHL level, and Mike Santorelli has been impressing with his overall play. There's also Brad Richardson, although he'll ideally be doing work on the 4th line. Anyways, Schroeder's injuries certainly haven't done him any favours, and the fact that he's waiver eligible complicates matters even further. This'll be an interesting season for him, no doubt.
Giant swing and preseason miss for banged-up Jensen. Needs to get healthy and play his way back to NHL. Hello, Utica. #canucks— Ben Kuzma (@benkuzma) September 24, 2013
As for Jensen, he seemed to be a very viable option to start the season as the left winger on the 2nd line next to Alex Burrows and Ryan Kesler, with David Booth still not quite ready to go. We were quite high on him when we ranked him as the number 4 prospect in the team's system, and may have even appeared to be too low on him when he dominated in Penticton at the Young Stars Classic. Jason Botchford was ranting and raving about him (leading to #JensenTrain becoming a thing on Twitter), and his play even brought the dirty old man out of Tony Gallagher.
His play didn't translate to the preseason, though, as he looked quite overmatched and out of place. Maybe it's a blessing in disguise for him and the Canucks that he'll be given the opportunity to get fully healthy, and build his confidence back up in Utica before potentially being called up once the team inevitably struggles to generate goals. Keep in mind that he's only 20 years old, and has only 28 games of AHL experience under his belt. There's no real reason to rush him at this point.
The Vancouver Canucks looked very good in dismantling a depleted Phoenix Coyotes squad last night, but with the season just 8 days away, there still remain far too many unanswered lineup questions for my taste.