Acquired in a deadline deal with the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for a conditional 4th round pick, Jannik Hansen was adequate in his first truncated season in San Jose. Limited to 43 games between both teams this season due to a knee injury suffered in December, Hansen still compiled 20 points, good for a per game average of 0.47, equal to the average of his seven points in 15 games for San Jose, and seventh on the team.
Possibly brought in so that the Sharks could make use of his Danish mind meld to wake up fellow countryman Mikkel Boedker, Hansen unsurprisingly spent over 30% of his even strength ice time with the former Coyote, seemingly preferring the company of Joes Thornton and Pavelski, with whom he spend 44% of his even strength time.
Hansen’s possession numbers overall are not the best (47.1 5v5 CF%), but would they be even worse if not for the amount of time he spent with possession dynamos Thornton and Pavelski? Probably not, turns out, as Hansen actually held onto a larger share of the proverbial Corsi pie when on a line with Boedker and Tomas Hertl (51.75% compared to 43.25%).
Some of this is due to the quality of competition being necessarily lower, but if you believe, as I do, that Thornton and Pavelski could power a slower than average bag of sand to a 40-point season, it may benefit the Sharks to slide Hansen down the lineup to spread out their scoring threats and minimize the risk of his less-than-ideal puck possession metrics.
Sure, this is all based on a pretty small sample, kid only played 15 games here, but it’s in line with his relative possession stats throughout his career in Vancouver. In nine seasons in the NHL, Hansen’s relative Corsi for percentage has been positive only twice. Boedker’s has only been positive three times in the same span. It seems like keeping them together keeps them accountable defensively so that the former can keep up his point pace.
Or maybe Hertl is just that good. Actually, that’s probably it.
2016-17 Sharks 5v5 Usage Chart (via Corsica Hockey)
Jannik Hansen Rolling 25-game score, zone, and venue-adjusted average CF% (via Corsica Hockey)
Hansen showed a nose for the net in his short season in San Jose, and, in a 3-2 loss in Edmonton in March, it paid off. Hansen’s second goal as a Shark opened the scoring by jumping on a rebound from a Paul Martin point shot. Hansen’s stick handling in close is impressive here, as he rapidly gets the backhand shot off up high and into Cameron Talbot’s net.
What comes next?
Hansen has one year left on his current contract at a cap hit of $2 million (an additional $500,000 is retained by the Canucks). Hopefully, we can ascribe some of his possession woes to a season plagued by injury (sounds familiar), and he enjoys a bounce back in his first full season in teal. If that’s not the case, or if he doesn’t have a new series of Youtube videos where he and Boedker eat and review danishes at local bakeries, he may be destined for free agency.