The Detroit Red Wings used their fifth round pick (150th overall) to draft defenseman Nick Jensen -- Detroit's first American-born selection. He notched five goals and 17 assists with the Green Bay Gamblers (USHL). He led his team (and league) with a +34 rating.
Born: September 21, 1990 (St. Paul, Minn.)
Position: Defenseman (shoots right)
Size: 6-1, 187 pounds
The nice thing about Jensen is he will play another year in the USHL before heading to St. Cloud State University where he has already committed, giving Detroit quite some time to watch him develop.
McKeen's: That's good. That means I'm not off base. We talked about this a bit already, but what are the areas of your game that you consider your strengths and what style of play would you say you play?
Jensen: Umm, well, like I said before, I like to be offensive, and I started out a little more defensive, but right now, I like to join the play a lot more. At the same time, I like to work on playing defense, too. I'd kind of like to have both offense, joining the play, and then playing defense at the same time. ...
McKeen's: Who were some of your favorite players growing up and why, and you're not that old yet, and who are some players today that you'd like to equate to?
Jensen: Well, when I was little, I never really watched any professional teams. Elk River was the only high school around there, we were Elk River hockey. Paul Martin was from there at the time, so I obviously looked up to him, because he was a defenseman and I wanted to be a defenseman, and he was Mr. Hockey, which is always a big deal. That's who I looked up to. Now, I look in the NHL and defensemen (pauses), Nicklas Lidstrom is one of my favorites. He's, well, (pauses)…a very good defenseman. So, I'd like to be like him, sometime.
Playing in the USHL helped Jensen learn to become a more responsible defenseman, as evidenced by his impressive +/- rating, but he also possesses the natural abilities to be an offensive force. As he matures and becomes better at balancing his offense and defense, he should develop into a reliable two-way defenseman.
Strengths: Skating, Puck-Handling, Reliability
Needs to Improve: Strength, Confidence in offensive abilities
Miscellaneous: Father Jeff Jensen was a 10th round draft pick of the Colorado Rockies in the 1978 NHL Amateur Draft