1-on-1 with Jannik Hansen: on Nicklas Jensen's growth, the Worlds and the 'sacrifice' of developing players at the NHL level
May 19 2016 06:53AM
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia – For Denmark’s Jannik Hansen, the 2015-16 hockey season has been one of his best to date.
Though his Vancouver Canucks struggled, the 29-year-old hit a career high with 22 goals, and his 38 points were one shy of his best-ever total.
After the NHL season wrapped up, Hansen headed to Russian to join up with Team Denmark for his sixth World Championship appearance. In seven preliminary-round games, Hansen tallied two goals and two assists as the Danes amassed a record of 2-2-1-2, good for 11 points. For just the second time in modern World Championship history, the Danes have advanced to the quarterfinal, finishing fourth in Group A, ahead of Switzerland and Latvia.
One day before facing Finland in Denmark’s quarterfinal game, Hansen walked me through Denmark’s impressive run, then talked about his season with the Canucks and what lies ahead in Vancouver.
May 18 2016 03:00PM
The NHL draft is a mere 37 days away. Teams will take to the floor of the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York and try to select players whom they hope will solidify the futures of their franchises. Fans, meanwhile, will scream at their respective television sets and bemoan the lack of managerial expertise exhibited by their favourite club. (Actually, that may just be a Canuck thing. I’ve gotten in so deep I can no longer tell the difference). Either way, the draft is one of the most important dates on the NHL calendar and it’s a lot of fun for fans – even if your club happens to be historically bad at it.
It’s a common idiom that even a broken clock is correct at least twice a day – or that even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in awhile – so even the rather inept Canucks have managed their share of admirable picks. Not their fair share, mind you. The Canucks can point to far fewer successes than most teams over the course of their nearly five decades of existence, given their number of draft picks over that span. But the organization can still point to some successes, all the same. Of course, this being the Canucks, sometimes those players found success with other teams. Where the Canucks and drafting are concerned, credit must be taken wherever it presents itself.
May 18 2016 01:00PM
Before the Vancouver Canucks can chart a course for their off-season, they will have to decide what to do with Dan Hamhuis. The 32-year-old, reliable stay-at-home defenceman is a pending unrestricted free agent and as such likely to receive considerable interest on the open market -- the type that usually leads to a lucrative contract.
The Canucks can afford that contract, whatever it may be. They've less than $60-million spent against the salary cap for next season -- though I'd temper any optimism therein with the sober fact that they've many, many holes to plug with that money.
So the question then becomes whether they should sign that contract, whatever it may be. We can answer those and more questions, on the other side of the jump.
May 18 2016 11:00AM
The Vancouver Canucks acquired Markus Granlund for the price of Hunter Shinkaruk because they didn't have room for the latter on their left wing going forward. You can quibble with whether the Canucks lost the better player until the cows come home, but the real irony here is that they didn't have room down the middle, either.
Henrik Sedin, Bo Horvat, Brandon Sutter, Linden Vey and Jared McCann already accounted for the middle of Vancouver's lineup. Add Granlund to the mix and we're talking about six centres for a grand total of four openings. Something's gotta give. That something likely starts with the Canucks not qualifying Vey. But then what?
Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins hasn't ruled out the possibility of sending his younger players to the Utica Comets next season to help with their development. Was McCann one of the players he had in mind?
For your sake, though, the question is whether he should be sent down next season or not. Are there alternatives? Let your voice be heard!
May 18 2016 07:00AM
The 18-year-old centre Brett Howden of the Moose Jaw Warriors checks in at 35th on the Nation Network prospect rankings. Howden brings a 200-foot game to the table and has exceptional play-making abilities to boot.
Take a look and see what the 2016 eligible draftee has to offer.