Nicklas Jensen, the Vancouver Canucks first round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, is expected to join the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League as early as March.
Jensen has been playing professionally with AIK of Elitserien in Sweden after deciding against returning to the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League for his last year of junior eligibility.
AIK has five more games left on their regular season schedule and will play their last game on March 5.
In the 12-team league, the top-eight teams quality for the playoffs. AIK currently sits ninth in the standings with 63 points. Ahead of them is Brynäs with 63 points. Jensen’s team could still make the playoffs, but it doesn’t appear management expect to make a deep run as the team tried to trade Jensen.
To trade Jensen, it would have required approval from the Canucks since Jensen is on loan and does not have a contract with AIK. The Canucks did not give approval because they wanted him playing in the system as soon as possible. Had Jensen been traded to a top team and they make it to the finals, Jensen would not be available until the middle of April.
“We wanted to get him back here to play in the American Hockey League and gain that experience like he did before,” Gillis told the Vancouver Sun. He’s certainly capable of playing at that level and excelling, so we didn’t want him to go to another team and have him play and miss that opportunity this year. He’s a young guy and we just didn’t feel comfortable with him moving around and then not getting the American Hockey League experience.”