More than a full week after he was acquired in a trade with the Canucks, Jannik Hansen is expected to practice with the Sharks on Wednesday according to a team spokesman.
Hansen, a Denmark native that had spent his entire career in Vancouver, was delayed in joining his new organization as he sorted out immigration.
The Sharks acquired the 30-year-old on Feb. 28, the day before the NHL’s trade deadline, in exchange for a conditional fourth round draft pick and prospect Nikolay Goldobin. In 28 games this season, he has six goals and seven assists for 13 points, a plus-two rating and 27 penalty minutes.
Hansen’s former coach in Vancouver, Willie Desjardins, praised the gritty winger last Thursday before the Sharks-Canucks game at SAP Center.
"He's a good player,” Desjardins said. “He had [22 goals] for us last year. He's good off the rush, he's a good penalty killer. I played him from my first line to my third line. He does a good job on all those lines.
“He gives you a different element. I think early in his career he was more of a shutdown, checking winger. [He] can certainly play that role. Last year and this year we've played him up on the top line with the Sedins. He filled in there and did a great job, as well. They are getting a guy that has a lot of versatility and a lot of speed."
Sven Baertschi praised Hansen for his work ethic, most of all.
"Really fast player, gritty, can score, can set up guys. He can do it all, I think. But I think for him mostly it's his compete,” Baertschi said.
“He goes out there and competes every single shift. He's a great example of a guy that really stuck with it and came from kind of nowhere. It's amazing his career and how well he's done in the past, and how big a part he was of our team. Obviously [the Sharks] get an awesome player here."
Wednesday will likely offer the first glimpse as to where Hansen will slot into the Sharks lineup. There’s been speculation he could skate on the top line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski, as coach Pete DeBoer has tried seven different wingers there. On Monday in Winnipeg, Melker Karlsson skated with the two Joes, while recent top line left wing Kevin Labanc was a healthy scratch.
The Sharks open a six-game homestand on Thursday against the Washington Capitals in what will be Hansen’s debut, barring any unforeseen circumstances.
Hansen has 235 points (105g, 130a) in 565 career NHL games, along with a career plus-46 rating and 260 penalty minutes.
The Sharks were off on Tuesday.