San Jose acquired Jannik Hansen from the Vancouver Canucks last night, adding a strong possession player to the roster just before the trade deadline. While it’s not the scoring winger we all saw coming, perhaps Doug Wilson saw an opportunity to improve the overall speed of a team that came ever so close to hoisting the Stanley Cup last summer.
With that in mind, let’s move forward and find a home for Hansen among the Sharks forwards. He’ll certainly slot in amongst the top nine (you come here for the best analysis in the business) and my hunch is Hansen gets a look with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski before being fed to the middle six.
Why do I say that? He played more than 600 minutes over the past two seasons with Henrik and Daniel Sedin over the past two seasons at even strength according to corsica.hockey. Their numbers together, at least in terms of possession, aren’t terrific.
That’s not a huge surprise given, you know, they played for the Canucks. It’s with the Sedins that Hansen did the most scoring and even then, it wasn’t very much. You can check out his player card from hockeyviz.com below.
His even strength scoring has been good over the past few years, buoyed at least in part by his time with the Sedins. That’s not a concern for Sharks fans if he plays with Thornton and Pavelski, of course, and his speed should help assuage the concerns created watching the Joes play against Auston Matthews and company last night.
That hasn’t always been Hansen’s role, though. Traditionally the Danish forward has been more of a third liner and he could fit in just fine on Tomas Hertl’s wing. Perhaps we’ll see Kevin Labanc stay with Thornton and Pavelski while Hertl and Joel Ward skate on the third line. Putting a speed guy with Hertl to offset Ward would be very intriguing.
Then there’s the prospect of breaking up the Good the Boed and the Ugly line. We haven’t sold t-shirts yet, so that’s still on the table. I hesitate to move Mikkel Boedker away from Logan Couture because the chemistry seems to be good here, but if head coach Pete DeBoer moved Patrick Marleau back on the top line to reunite the Captain Line... I wouldn’t complain too much.
That would give us:
The Captain Line (Marleau - Thornton - Pavelski)
The Danish Line (Hansen - Couture - Boedker)
The Hertl Line (Labanc - Hertl - Ward)
The Tierney Line (Meier - Tierney - Karlsson)
That’s... a really good forward group. What do you think? Where should Hansen slot into the San Jose lineup?