What’s Next for Jannik Hansen?

We’re deep into the summer, yet one of the greatest Danish hockey players of all time remains without a contract. Jannik Hansen should have more in the tank, but one sub-par season has demolished his value on the market.

This begs the question, what’s next for Jannik Hansen?

Where’s Hansen’s Value Lies

For nearly a decade, Hansen established himself as a responsible, two-way player in the NHL. He’s an efficient penalty killer with speed to burn. Even at 32 years 0ld, he can still be one of the fastest players in the league.

Hansen is also an underrated offensive player as well. For seven seasons, Hansen averaged between 30 and 40 points per season for the Canucks and the San Jose Sharks.

It wasn’t until last season in San Jose where everything fell off the rails for Hansen. He was constantly a healthy scratch, making it into the lineup for only 46 games last season. Hansen never found a spot in the lineup, with his most common linemates being Chris Tierney and Mikkel Boedker. As a line, the trio bled scoring chances at even-strength, with a scoring-chances-for percentage that was below 43 per cent.

Jannik Hansen San Jose Sharks
Jannik Hansen had a forgettable tenure in San Jose, but he could still provide value to some teams. (Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports)

Hansen suffered through some bad lucky as well. Throughout his career, Hansen never had a shooting percentage below eight per cent. Last season, his shooting percentage dropped down to 3.7 per cent.

If Hansen were to come back to the NHL, you could expect him to bury a few more goals. He’s a better shooter than last season’s goal total would suggest.

Hansen is also an effective penalty killer and has been for a number of years. Although healthy scratches limited his time on the penalty kill in San Jose, he helped the Sharks to the second-best penalty kill in the league last season. With the Canucks, he was a vital part of the penalty kill for his entire career.

To Whom Could Hansen Provide Value?

With many rosters all but complete this late in the summer, it can be tough to pick out some teams who could value from Hansen. In June, some in Vancouver were calling for Hansen to come home in Vancouver. That theory is all but dead after the signings of Jay Beagle, Tim Schaller and Antoine Roussel.

Teams who could use Hansen are those who aren’t strong on the penalty kill, are slow, and could benefit from his veteran leadership. Here are a few that come to mind as a possible fit for Hansen.

Philadelphia Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers are pretty stacked at the top of their roster and have some younger guys vying for spots. If Hansen were to crack this team, he would likely have to beat out other vets like Dale Weise and Jori Lehtera for playing time.

Dave Hakstol Flyers
Could Jannik Hansen be a fit to join Dave Hakstol and the Philadelphia Flyers? (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Even though the Flyers are potent on offence, they struggled mightily on the penalty kill last season. Part of that though was due to Brian Elliott’s poor save percentage shorthanded, and could also be attributed to their weak defence rather than the forwards up front. Valtteri Filppula, who had the worst goals against per 60 shorthanded among Flyers forwards, has departed Philly for the Islanders.

Columbus Blue Jackets

This might make the most sense for Hansen on a couple of levels. One, the Columbus Blue Jackets are one of the youngest teams in the league. They also had a bottom-10 penalty kill last season, meaning that Hansen could help Columbus on more than one area.

Another reason why Hansen could end up in Ohio is because of his connection with John Tortorella. While Torts might want to forget everything about his tenure in Vancouver, one player he did love was Hansen. He fed Hansen more than 15 minutes per game, including loads of time on the penalty kill.

Still, there are a lot of talented young forwards in this organization, so it’s hard to see Hansen beating many of them out. If anything, Hansen could become a 12th or 13th forward who plays big minutes on the penalty kill or fills in for any injured forwards.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Although the Tampa Bay Lightning were among the best teams in the league last season, they struggled mightily on the penalty kill. Hansen’s speed also fits right in with the way Tampa likes to play the game.

Steve Yzerman
Steve Yzerman could be the GM who sees the value of signing someone like Hansen to a cheap, one-year deal. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

Tampa is right up against the cap right now, which could actually work in Hansen’s favour. As the Lightning try to clear more cap room to add a guy like Erik Karlsson, Hansen could be a perfect low-cost signing for the organization in case they trade away some of their forwards.