Let’s take a minute from bemoaning the season the Canucks have put together so far. Yes, they’re going to miss the playoffs. Yes, they’re also going to fail to sink to the bottom of the standings and may not get a top-three draft pick.
But emerging from this steaming dog poo of a season is Jannik Hansen, who is having a career-year.
Prior to this season, the 30-year-old Danish winger was thought by many to be no better than a third liner. A very good third liner – he can skate, kill penalties, etc. – but a third liner nonetheless.
Until this season.
Jannik Hansen has been one of the best, most consistent players on the team this year.
‘The Honey Badger’ has always been tenacious on the puck and very good defensively, but now he’s adding offence.
He has 21 goals, which crushed his previous career-high in goals (16). He has 37 points, which is only two back of his career-high, with three games to go. He’s third on the team in points and second in goals. He’s tied for the team lead in non-power play goals.
He’s done all of this despite playing just 64 games due to injury.
Willie Desjardins finally gave in to playing Hansen on the power play last night, a place he has seen very little action, and what did he do? He scored the second power play goal of his career.
It seems that everything is coming up Jannik this year.
He’s played much of this year with the Sedins, so of course his stats saw a bump, but it’s more than that. He has earned his spot with the Sedins because of how he’s played, and he has made the top line better.
Among Canucks forwards with more than 40 games played, Hansen trails only Jake Virtanen and the Sedin Twins in even strength Corsi percentage.
His shooting percentage (19.1%) is well up from his career average, which probably a product of playing with Daniel and Henrik Sedin this season. It’s also an indication that he hasn’t suddenly morphed into a bonafide 20-goal scorer at the age of 30.
Either way, Hansen is a bargain for the Canucks, carrying just a $2.5 million cap hit until the end of the 2017-18 season.
He has put together a season that he can be proud of, even if his team isn’t doing the same.