Goal, Denmark-- I mean, Team Cherry.
Editor's Note: In the next 50 days we'll have various prospect overviews heading into the 2011 NHL Draft, which will be filled with the usual Canadians and Americans. But one area of interest is the "non-traditional" hockey countries that have only one or two prospects in the draft's top 60. We begin, as all LHH content should, with a nod to Frans Nielsen's Denmark.
Like Frans Nielsen and Peter Regin before him, Nicklas Jensen comes from Denmark's burgeoning "hockey hotbed" of Herning. Unlike Regin and Nielsen, who caught the NHL radar by migrating to the Swedish Elite League, Jensen made the jump over to Canadian juniors, playing with Calvin de Haan's Oshawa club this past season.
The Islanders watched John Tavares in Oshawa, then drafted fellow Generals de Haan and Tony DeHart. Does that mean Danish- or Oshawa-love will lead them to Jensen, the former Danish pro rookie of the year? Not likely, given his projected draft position in the mid-range of the first round. But all Danes deserve their due.
Jensen probably won't be the highest-drafted Dane ever (Lars Eller was picked 13th overall by St. Louis in 2007, then Mikkel Boedker was picked 8th overall by Phoenix the next year). But his skillset tempts observers at least as much as those two. Jensen brings nice offensive skills coupled with that two-way awareness we tend to expect from Swedes, and now Danes.
Video: What This Prospect Sounds Like, and Looks Like in Coat and Tie
Projections: Random Rankings from People Who Watch Teens. A Lot.
Scouting Report (mid-term): 18
So he's cool then. He's cool.
Quotes: Words Written to Sound Unlike Similar Words Written about other Players
The Scouting Report:
dynamic player with great skating ability and with his size, he can fight through checks and use his skating ability to go end to end or break plays through the neutral zone.
En högerfattad, teknisk och spelskicklig forward med bra skridskoåkning.
Yeah...what he said.
True Hockey (that's the yang to Fictional Hockey's yin):
Jensen entered the season as a relatively unknown commodity, but has skyrocketed into the top-10 as the tenth best prospect according to the February rankings released from International Scouting Services late last month.
The 6-foot-3, 185 pound right winger is recognized as a strong two-way forward with a lethal combination of great shooting skills and smooth skating. He is projected to develop into a playmaker at the NHL level because of his vision and ability to find his linemates in tight areas.
Edmontonoilers.com (which has a not-minor interest in this draft):
At 6’3" and 186 pounds, Jensen is developing a well-rounded game that should translate well to NHL competition someday soon. He skates extremely well for a big man and uses his size to his advantage when necessary. Regaining control of the puck is never an issue with the poise and recovery skills that he possesses.
Jensen seems to feel that his game needs tweaking in virtually every nook and cranny of the ice.
"You can always work on everything in your game. I want to be faster, stronger, shoot harder, play better in the defensive zone and offensive zone," said the possible first-round pick. "Just my all-around game from the defensive zone to the neutral zone to offense I want to be better."
Dan Sallows (just an honest fan and hockey watcher who's seen the kid play):
Jensen possesses very good size at 6-foot-2, 187-pounds, to go with an unbelievable skillset. He has a great shot, is a strong skater, has good vision and hockey sense, and is seen as a very dependable two-way forward.
What Teammates/Random Bloggers Say
"I never heard of where he's from, but he speaks English okay." -- Anonymous Teammate
"He's from Denmark, so he's practically a Greek god of hockey already." -- NYIblogger51
*Note: The above two quotes are unverified, unsourced and rather fictional.
Video: What He Looks Like Going End-to-End with a Convenient D-Man Mistake
So that's a bit about Nicklas Jensen. He'll probably make some NHL GM a very happy man.