There have been a handful of players on the Canucks bottom six this year who have been questionable selections for the roster and it seem as each game goes by some of those spots are put even more-so into question because of extremely sub par play. Now it’s no secret I’m a huge Jannik Hansen fan, so naturally I’m upset when he gets unnecessarily scratched, or sent down on a conditioning stint, no matter how voluntary it was. With that in mind though, there’s got to be something else at play here that we’re not hearing about.
I know he has a two way contract and that works against him, but when I look at the play of players like Bernier you have to wonder what static there is between Hansen and Vigneault that keeps resulting in Hansen being put on the back burner. Hansen’s play has been solid, his work on the penalty kill as good as any of his equals (Bolduc, Bernier, Wellwood etc). He’s played his role to the T and as it goes he’s making the small plays to turn up ice, and the smart plays to get the puck out of the defensive zone.
His play hasn’t been outstanding, but it’s been well above average and it’s for this reason I can’t understand why he gets scratched in favour of a player like Bolduc. Hansen on any other team would be a staple 3rd liner. The fact that this team’s depth when combined with his two way contract works against him is unfortunate, but when you look at the absolutely awful play from the bottom six, Hansen seems like the necessary choice. His skating’s been better this year, and on nights when Hordichuk isn’t needed it would only make sense that Hansen slots in and yet it takes Demitra’s absence and Ryan Johnson’s lack of presence for Hansen to slot back in.
Hansen took a two way contract he was reluctant to sign just to stay with the Canucks, but I have a feeling the Dane, who will be a free agent this summer, is in his last season with the team. While I’d love to see him return, he’s as expendable at the deadline as any one of the other bottom six players and if he’s still a Canucks member at the end of the year I have a feeling he’s going to do the smart thing and head to another team.
Hansen slots in tonight for the Canucks and it’ll be nice to have a fresh set of legs on the team. Who knows how many more games he’ll get. While he deserves a spot over players like Wellwood, Bernier, and Hordichuk, I think there’s something greater at play that we’re just not hearing about. It just doesn’t make sense to sit a healthy forward like Hansen when Bernier and Wellwood have been in the ruts they have. There’s going through a slump, and there’s poor play. Wellwood’s days are numbered and if the Canucks want to turn their road play around, as well as make a serious run in the playoffs, they are going to have to ship out certain players from that bottom six, but one of those players that needs to remain is Hansen.