Canucks Make Moves: Next Stop on the Jensen Train, Phoenix?

Following last night’s "moral victory" the Vancouver Canucks have been using their day off in Anaheim to make some moves. Don’t worry, our boyfriend Tom Sestito is safe. It’s Darren Archibald, on the other hand, who needs to pack his bags and head on back to Utica. As a result of Archibald’s departure it’s expected that David Booth will be back on the lineup on Wednesday v. the Ducks, and that highly touted prospect Nicklas Jensen could get the call.

Read on past the jump for a quick assessment of the landscape moving forward.

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I still like Archibald’s game, and think that there’s a distinct possibility we’ll be able to look back on a relatively successful 4th line NHL career from him 10 years from now. With that being said his 2nd stint up with the big club was a pretty forgettable one, aside from the impressive showing in the SuperSkills competition. As a result, he has been handed the cruelest of sentences..

a) His former location:

b) His new destination: 

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Ouch. As for David Booth, his last game action actually came against Anaheim; he was on the ice for 4 shot attempts for, and 26 against in what was a massacre all the way across the board, and wound up being a healthy scratch for the following 3 games. It’s honestly tough to say what his future holds, but you’d think that he’d be well suited for a 3rd line gig next to Mike Santorelli and Jannik Hansen for the time being.

It’s no secret that I’ve been bullish on Booth in the past, but after it appeared like he had really turned his season, he went back to being the same ol’ riddle, buried in a puzzle, hidden in a maze. The optimist in me would still like to think that he’ll be able to contribute to the team in some fashion over the course of these final 30+ games of the year. However, we could quite conceivably be a few bad performances away from the team just shutting him down, sending him home, and making sure he’s not injured come the buyout period in the Summer. It has gotten to that point with him, sadly.

From a more positive angle, though, it sounds like we could see the #JensenTrain make an appearance in Phoenix on Thursday night. Jensen has had a weird season, and I’ll just recycle what I wrote about him following the news that he was being sent back to Utica back on September 24th:

"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."

But despite the Canucks struggling to score goals all year, Jensen wasn’t doing himself any favours with his performance in the AHL. He came out of the gate really slowly, and only has 5 goals + 9 points in 29 games this year. But he has been en fuego lately, with 4 goals and an assist in his past 3 games.

I think a slight pass needs to be given to him based on the fact that he was clearly working his way back from a shoulder injury, and that he was playing with, putting it nicely, inferior teammates. Also, we’re pretty fond of him on this platform. Based on the recent production and the news coming out of Utica, it sounds like he’s rounding into form:

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An interesting spot for him in the lineup might be on the 2nd line with Kesler and Kassian, bumping Higgins down to form a wicked 3rd line with Santorelli and Hansen. If Jensen is indeed going to be up with the team I’d ideally like to see him be given a legitimate shot to succeed, which means he needs to be in the top-6. Another interesting caveat with Jensen is that he’s absolutely filthy in the shootout (4 for 32 as a team), and considering all of the team’s noted troubles in that department he could potentially prove to be a nice little asset:

Of course all of this news doesn’t necessarily mean anything long-term, because we could see another complete reshuffling of the bottom-6 when Alex Burrows makes his long awaited return, which could be as soon as Saturday night v. the Calgary Flames..

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  • Mantastic

    Hopefully Jensen’s ice time doesn’t come at Kassian’s expense.

    Because robbing Peter to pay Paul isn’t the kind of reset this organization needs right now…

  • Mantastic

    I wonder if they’re considering Grenier as well. He’s been doing well lately as have a few other Comets. Anyway, it’d be nice to see some of the future…now!

  • Mantastic

    The line matches will be an interesting combo. If Jensen would play with Sedins he could do well, but with Burrows back Sat that won’t happen. My concern with Jensen is will he be able to generate opportunities for himself and line mates. Again being at the game last night the power ply suffered with bad combos and Sestito getting the boot. While not a goal scorer Sestito plays a similar role to Big Buff in Chicago and why Garrison was supplanted by Weber is a mystery. Weber had a terrible offside on a crucial PP. DSedin on pt is a concern also in the same PP Kess won a draw clean and Danny passed up a slap shot to pass around the top. I wouldn’t mind both Garrison and Webber blasting away …… But on net.

  • Mantastic

    I hope Jensen is fully healthy and plays to his potential. Every time I have watched him play in a Canucks uniform he seems to disappear. He is never around the puck or playing to his size. Let’s hope this opportunity brings out the best in him. The Moral victory will be something if they play well in Anahiem. I was at the LA game and there was a different feeling about the team on the ice.problem was they seemed to play tough then too fancy on PP. Have to make sure they play tough and smart….. Stay away from the crease Bieska!

    • Mantastic

      I disagree. In his only stint playing up with (I think) the Sedins, he didn’t look out of place at all. In his preseason audition he looked less good.

      I am imagining that Weise is playing himself out of the lineup or at least into the AHL given that Tortorella likely wasn’t his biggest fan in the first place since he was waived by the Rangers for the Canucks to pick him up. I hope this means that Sestito plays on the fourth line with Richardson and Santorelli which would be an interesting combo (or perhaps Richardson, Santorelli and Hansen, a better fit). I just don’t know who you stick Sestito with though I suppose if he’s going to continue to play 1 second a game it doesn’t really matter.