The Canucks sent young winger Nicklas Jensen down to the AHL’s Utica Comets on Monday, just two days before the start of the 2014-15 NHL season. Jensen played in 17 games with Vancouver last year, registering three goals and three assists in a sometimes great, other times inconsistent tryout.
Jensen (21 years old, drafted 29th overall in 2011) was seen as a hopeful to make Vancouver’s roster this season, especially after a strong preseason, but the summer additions of forwards like Linden Vey, Nick Bonino, Derek Dorsett and Radim Vrbata – combined with the limited options available for rookie Bo Horvat and center Shawn Matthias – most likely made him Vancouver’s final cut, or one of them.
“Don’t be too disappointed for him,” writes Nucks Misconduct‘s Nick Mercadante (link below). “I would imagine he and/or (Hunter Shinkaruk) will be the first shuttled up when someone is injured or under-performs. They both still have developmental work to do, and they won’t be long for the AHL, you’ll see.
“Each has NHL-caliber play in them that will almost certainly be tapped into as soon as this year.”
The Canucks haven’t narrowed their roster dow to 23 men just yet, with issues further complicated by injuries to Horvat and defencemen Kevin Bieksa and Frank Corrado. Yannick Weber looks like the odd man out on defence right now (behind bottom six blueliners Luca Sbisa and Ryan Stanton) and Tom Sestito is the team’s 13th (healthy) forward.
The only sure things for Wednesday night’s opener against the Calgary Flames: Radim Vrbatat playing right wing with Daniel and Henrik Sedin, and Ryan Miller will be in net.
Other than that, the following lines were observed at Canucks’ team practice on Monday (Nucks Misconduct) and are believed to be the combinations we’ll see for Game 1 against Calgary.
On the second and third lines, centers Nick Bonino and Linden Vey will most likely be flanked by some combination of Zack Kassian, Alex Burrows, Chris Higgins, and Brad Richardson, who normally plays center.
Dorsett, Matthias, and Jannik Hansen figure to see time on Vancouver’s fourth line.
Eddie Lack, of course, will backup Ryan Miller.