Nicklas Jensen was surprised he was able to sign his entry-level contract so early into the season.
He shouldn't be. Turns out, one of his biggest fans is the Vancouver Canucks head coach.
"Love him," Alain Vigneault said when asked about the Canucks 2011 first-round draft pick. "I was waiting for somebody to ask me a question about him. You look at the size and the skill, and his overall puck protection skills on the ice.
"There's a young man, from what I've seen so far, who has a tremendous amount of upside. No fear. He just goes out and plays. I was really happy the organization was able to come to terms with him.
"You can't buy that size and skill."
Jensen's three-year deal with the Canucks was announced Thursday. Before prospects camp, Jensen was expecting it would take half the year or maybe the entire season to get his deal. But now, with the Canucks moving so quickly, you have to wonder if they would consider keeping Jensen for at least a nine-game trial to start the season.
"I'm really happy to sign now," Jensen said. "It's perfect for me. I just look forward and will try to do my best to hopefully stay here as long as possible."
The Canucks made the first overture to Jensen's agent Anton Thun at the Young Stars tournament in Penticton.
"It's kind of a relief," Jensen said. "But I wasn't too concerned about signing quick. That wasn't my main goal. It was coming here and make a really good impression. Show what I got. Obviously, I knew if I played really well and did what I could I would sign eventually."
Jensen got two points in his first game playing on a line with Steve Pinnizzotto and Jordan Schroeder. He skated with the veterans Friday and said he will be in the lineup Saturday night.
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