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Behind The Bench: Jannik Hansen

by on 08/03/2011

Born: March 15, 1986
Ht: 6’1″
Wt: 195 lbs
Draft: 287th overall by the Vancouver Canucks in 2004
Plays for: Vancouver Canucks, Right Wing, Shoots Right
Jersey No.: #36

NHL Stats

Regular Season: 189 GP – 24 G – 41 A – 65 P
Playoffs: 49 GP – 4 G – 9 A – 13 P

Jannik Hansen is the last of the Danish forwards STP will be featuring this week.

On April 15, 2007, Jannik Hansen became the first Danish citizen to play and record a point in an NHL playoff game and is the first Danish player to play in the WHL. He is also the first Danish player to play in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Jannik Hansen developed his skills with the Danish Oddset League before being drafted 287th in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. After the Entry Draft, Hansen spent another season in the Oddset League where he recorded 32 points in 34 games. Hansen was then drafted 33rd overall in the 2005 CHL Import Draft by the Portland Winterhawks. Hansen moved to North American and joined the Winterhawks for the 05/06 season.

Hansen has a phenominal rookie season with the Winterhawks. He scored 64 points in 64 regular season games and led all rookies in scoring and continued his scoring pace in the playoffs, recording 13 points in 12 WHL playoff games. After a single season with the Winterhawks, the Vancouver Canucks signed Hansen to a three-year ELC.

Hansen spend his first professional season with the Canucks AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose. He played 72 games, scoring 12 goals and 34 points and led all team rookies in scoring. Hansen was called up by the Canucks for their 2007 playoff run. He appeared in all 10 games for the Canucks and recorded 1 assist. After the Canucks second-round elimination, Hansen was sent back down to the Moose for their 2007 Calder Cup Playoffs. He was pointless in 6 games as the Moose were eliminated by the Hamiliton Bulldogs.

The following season was an injury plagued one for Hansen. He broke his thumb during the pre-season with the Canucks. After recovering, he was sent back down to the Moose but was recalled in November, where he went pointless in 5 games before being sent down to the minors. Hansen then suffered a concussion which caused him to miss portion of the season. Although, he suffered an injury plagued season, Hansen still produce impressive numbers at the AHL level. He recorded 43 points in 50 games and was a team-high +23.

After his first NHL season, Hansen knew he have to change his game in order to fit in Vancouver. In junior and the minors, he’d see lots of power play time but in the NHL he knew he wouldn’t be getting the same opportunities. Instead of dwelling on opportunities he would not get, Hansen dedicated himself to improving the other aspects of his game. And he was rewarded for his efforts during the 08/09 season. Hansen made the Canucks’ roster out of training camp and quickly established himself as a third-line checker. Hansen became a staple to the Canucks’ penalty kill, he was defensively responsible and possessed both great puck-pursuit and forechecking ability. Despite becoming a fixture on the Canucks third-line and penalty kill, Hansen was demoted mid-season to make room for Mats Sundin. However, he was quickly recalled but suffered a broken finger and missed all but the final 3 games of the season. Hansen was a healthy scratch for most of the 2009 playoffs. Hansen finished his rookie season in the top 30 for rookie scoring. He recorded 6 goals and 15 assists for 21 points in 55 games. The Canucks signed Hansen to a one-year, two-way $550,000 contract extension.

During the 09/10 pre-season, Hansen suffered another hand injury during a fight with Gilbert Brule. He missed 19 games before returning in mid-November. After posting 4 goals and 3 assists in his first 20 games of the season, he was sent down to the Moose for a 10-day conditioning assignment. Back with the Canucks, Hansen finished the season with 9 goals and 6 assists for 15 points in 47 games, this was the first time in his North American career Hansen finished a season with more goals than assists. Hansen played in all 12 of the Canucks 2010 NHL playoff games and recorded 3 points despite suffering from a sprained ankle. The Canucks re-signed Jannik Hansen after an arbitration hearing awarded him a one-year, one-way $825,000 contract extension.

Hansen played his first injury free season of his career in 10/11. In his first full season with the Canucks, he tied a career-high in goals (9), established new career-highs in assists (20) and points (29). He also played in all 25 playoff games during the Canucks 2011 Playoff run to the Stanley Cup, where he recorded 3 goals and 6 assists for 9 points. 28 of Hansen’s 29 points were produced at even strength. Nobody on the team that scored 20 or more points had a better even strength point ratio than Hansen’s .966. Hansen filed for arbitration during the offseason, prior to his hearing Hansen and the Canucks agreed to a three-year $4.05M contract extention that will pay him $1.65 in his first year then $1.3M in the second and $1.1M in the final year.

Hansen is a very underrated player. He is great at what he does, forecheck, hitting and being defensively responsible. Hansen has blistering speed and agility that you uses effectively in his own zone and during penalty kills. He is a great forechecker with great puck-pursuit ability and can lay the body. He isn’t the strongest or biggest player on the ice but he is noticed whenever he steps on the ice. Hansen is always on the ice during the last few minutes of a game to hold on to a led. Hansen has a decent shot with a quick release but he will rarely score with his wrist shot from the has marks. Hansen scores his goals in front of the net. Whenever Hansen gets an offensive zone shift, he will always go straight to the net and knock in rebounds and fight for pucks. Hansen has always been a pass first player and he has decent playmaking skills. Hansen has puppet hands, they aren’t silk smooth in their movement nor are they hard as stone. He has shown flashes of stick handling ability but nothing consistent. Most of his flashes are displayed during one-on-one situations, where he gets by a defender but loses the puck.

Click here to see every goal Hansen scored during the 10/11 season.

Hansen is a great two-way forward, one of the best defensive forwards in the game and a decent offensive threat who is still learning and growing. Hansen is a “heart and soul” player, every night he puts everything on the ice, whether its the most important game of the year or the most insignificant. He doesn’t even take practice days off. Often called by his teammaters and coaches, their best practice player.

“He’s a player. More importantly, he’s a competitor. He pisses guys off in practice. He practises like he plays. We have fun with him, but there are days you want to take his head off, too. Great kid, good guy to have on your team. He was an absolute warrior for us tonight. He’s got that grit to his game.”

When Hansen was on a line with Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows, they created one of the best Canuck shut down lines ever seen. At this point in all of their careers, if this line were to ever be reunited, it would spell doom for opposing team. All three players can score goals and pass, they all are great forecheckers who posses speed and are willing to take the body and all are great in their own zone.

Hansen has improved every year he’s been in the league, this coming season should be no different. Hansen has the potential to settle into a 40 – 50 point producer but head coach Alain Vigneault likes to keep Hansen limited to a defensive role and he may never be more than a 25-35 point producer. Hansen will have to prove that he can produce at a higher level whenever he is given  shifts on the first and second lines. Otherwise he’ll be relegated to the third line for the rest of his career in Vancouver.

With several Canucks’ prospects only a year or two away from being NHL ready, Hansen’s chances to move up the depth chart are fading quickly. We fully expect Hansen to have his best offensive year next season.

Hansen isn’t flashy but he’s hard working and hard work eventually pays off. The video below sums up everything Hansen.


-yes, that was definitely a slew foot by Hansen on Jack Johnson.

Behind The Bench appears Monday to Friday only on puckpuckgoose.com.

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