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NICK JENSEN
Nick Jensen
Position: Defense
Shoots: Right
Vitals: 6’1” / 193 lbs.
Birthdate: September 21, 1990
Hometown: Rogers, Minnesota
Acquired: Detroit’s fifth choice (150th overall) in the 2009 draft
CSS Ranking: 120th North American skater (2009)
Contract: 2015 (via CapGeek.com)
RWC Says: Defensive Defenseman

STORIES

AWARDS
  • 2008-09 USHL top plus-minus (plus-34)
  • 2011-12 WCHA All-Conference Third Team
  • 2012-13 All-WCHA First Team
  • 2012-13 NCAA West First Team All-American
  • 2012-13 WCHA Defensive Player of the Year

HISTORY
2007-08:
  • Led Rogers-Zimmerman High School in scoring for the second straight year.
  • Selected in the fifth round (70th overall) by Green Bay in the USHL draft.
2008-09
  • Broke into USHL and had a good rookie campaign (52-5-17-22, 62 shots).
  • Posted a USHL-best plus-34 rating, albeit on the league’s best team.
  • Tied for 17th among all USHL defensemen in scoring.
  • Quiet post-season as Green Bay lost in Clark Cup semifinals.
  • Selected in the fifth round (150th overall) of the NHL draft by Detroit.
2009-10:
  • Returned to USHL with Green Bay and had another solid year (53-6-21-27, 106 shots).
  • Plus-36 tied for fourth in USHL and made him a career plus-70 for Green Bay.
  • Ranked 10th in scoring among USHL defensemen and second on Green Bay.
  • Helped Green Bay to a dominating first-place finish (45-10-5).
  • Tied for second in scoring among USHL defensemen (12-2-6-8) en route to championship.
  • Helped United States to gold-medal finish at world junior A challenge (5-1-2-3) in November.
2010-11:
  • Made a smooth transition to the U.S. college game as sophomore at St. Cloud State (38-5-18-23).
  • Logged ice time in all situations and finished with a minus-5 rating and 58 shots on goal.
  • Started season on a hot streak (10-2-7-9) but didn’t slow too much afterward (28-3-11-14).
  • Finished 11th among WCHA defensemen and third among WCHA freshmen blueliners in scoring.
  • Fell short of a spot on the WCHA all-rookie team.
2011-12:
  • Returned to St. Cloud State as sophomore, third in team scoring (39-6-26-32, plus-14, 68 shots).
  • Scored a hat trick on Dec. 17, St. Cloud State’s first since Bret Hedican in more than two decades.
  • Averaged more than a point per game from his hat trick game on (20-5-16-21).
  • Fourth among WCHA defensemen in scoring behind Justin Schultz, Nate Schmidt and Joey LaLeggia.
2012-13:
  • Returned to St. Cloud State for junior season and served as alternate captain.
  • Logged heavy minutes for Huskies against top opposition lines (42-4-27-31, 76 SOG, plus-19).
  • Ranked fourth in WCHA defense scoring (27-4-19-23) and led WCHA blueliners in assists (19).
  • Ranked second in assists (27), sixth in points (31) and T7th in plus-minus among NCAA blueliners.
  • Helped St. Cloud State advance to Frozen Four before it succumbed to Quinnipiac in semifinals.
  • Signed two-year entry-level contract with Red Wings on May 2.
2013-14:
  • Suffered shoulder injury in fight with Tyler Bertuzzi at Red Wings’ July 2013 development camp.
  • Required surgery and didn’t return until three-game ECHL stint with Toledo starting Nov. 23.
  • Made AHL debut with Grand Rapids on Dec. 6 and had good second half (45-0-9-9, plus-12, 40 shots).
  • Appeared in all 10 AHL playoff games with Grand Rapids (10-0-1-1, minus-3, 16 shots).

SCOUT COMMENTS
“The offensive upside is what we’re exciting about, the skating ability. His skating is his best asset and he’s a good puck-mover.” — Red Wings scout David Kolb (June 2009) … “His defensive play has come a long ways from where it was in (his draft year) — which is a credit to his coaches the past two years. He is almost impossible to beat one-on-one at this level because of his mobility … He likes to make open-ice hits and stand guys up at the blue line.” — Kolb (November 2010) … “Every game I’ve seen him, he was the hardest competitive guy (on the ice) and he’s got the heart of a lion. He’s in people’s faces, he’s taking people’s space away thanks to his skating, and he makes great outlet passes. He’s had a great year and we’re really happy with his development.” — Red Wings director of player development Jiri Fischer (April 2013).

STRENGTHS
Tremendous skating is the foundation of his game, with high top speed and great agility … His impressive mobility makes him difficult to beat in his own zone, as his ability to thwart opponents in 1-on-1 situations has improved by leaps and bounds since being drafted … Even when he takes risks offensively, he has the wheels to get back defensively … Willing to battle physically and likes to throw open-ice hits … Exceptional work ethic and competitiveness … May have more offensive potential than he has shown to date because of his skating … Comes from a hockey family, as his dad, Jeff Jensen, played at Lake Superior State and was a Colorado Rockies draft choice.

WEAKNESSES
Doesn’t have a hard shot, nor does he use it much … Needs to work on his decision making, such as not skating the puck through the neutral zone when a simpler pass will suffice … Can get caught chasing the puck in his own zone, perhaps because he’s such a good skater.

PROJECTION
The Red Wings drafted Jensen because of his high-end skating ability and offensive potential. Since then, he’s transformed himself into a blueliner who is very tough to beat defensively but who can also move the puck. Although he’s one of Detroit’s older prospects, he doesn’t have much professional experience, and shoulder surgery cost him a big chunk of development time as an AHL rookie in 2013-14. Still, he established himself in Grand Rapids and is part of a strong group of defense prospects waiting in the wings. Expect Jensen to return to the AHL in 2014-15.

Player statistics powered by www.eliteprospects.com

 Season Team League GP G A TP PIM      Playoffs GP G A TP PIM 
 2006-2007 Rogers High Varsity USHS 21 20 17 37 - |          
 2007-2008 Rogers High Varsity USHS 14 14 13 27 - |          
 2008-2009 Green Bay Gamblers USHL 52 5 17 22 27 | Playoffs 7 0 1 1
 2009-2010 Green Bay Gamblers USHL 53 6 21 27 35 | Playoffs 12 2 6 8
 2010-2011 St. Cloud State Univ. NCAA 38 5 18 23 18 |          
 2011-2012 St. Cloud State Univ. NCAA 39 6 26 32 4 |          
 2012-2013 St. Cloud State Univ. NCAA 41 4 27 31 14 |          
 2013-2014 Grand Rapids Griffins AHL 45 0 9 9 8 | Playoffs 10 0 1 1
  Toledo Walleye ECHL 3 0 0 0 0 |          
 2014-2015 Grand Rapids Griffins AHL 15 1 4 5 5 |          

Player statistics © www.eliteprospects.com



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