Washington Capitals Player Preview: Is Nick Jensen ready to take the next step?

Nick Jensen, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Nick Jensen, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

We are five days away from the first preseason game and a day away until Washington Capitals players report to the rink for physicals with training camp taking place the next day. Which means now is a perfect time to break down each player leading up to the regular season. On Sunday, we kicked this series off with Justin Schultz. Today it’s Nick Jensen’s turn.

Jensen enters his third full season with the Caps after the team traded Madison Bowey and a 2020 draft pick for him in Feb. 2019. He had five assists in 20 games the remainder of that season with the Capitals while adding eight assists the next year before that season was cut short by the pandemic.

This past season was easily Jensen’s best year with the Caps and I don’t think he’s even reached his ceiling yet. Two goals and 12 assists for 14 points ain’t too shabby for a defenseman. In addition, Jensen was a plus five while averaging 17:18 minutes of ice time. Jensen blocked 65 shots and laid out 56 hits.

Jensen’s possession metrics were solid as he once again was on the third pairing. He will likely be on the third pairing again while his partner remains to be seen. We’ll know more as those spots will be up for grabs at training camp.

Jensen finished with a Corsi For percentage of 50.24 percent last season and a career high 54.76 High Danger Chances for percentage. Jensen’s partner last season on the third pair was none other than NHL star Zdeno Chara. Chara joined the New York Islanders over the weekend so Jensen will have a new partner this season.

I think Chara’s leadership helped make Jensen a better defenseman. You bring in a seasoned veteran like him who led the Boston Bruins for a long time and he’s one of those guys who makes the team around you better. That’s what happened with Jensen, Chara’s greatness rubbed off him.

So with that being said, how can Jensen take the next step forward? Whether it’s Martin Fehervary or Alex Alexeyev, Jensen could mentor those two.

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If his partner happens to be Michal Kempny, who is making a big return from an Achilles injury, Jensen can show Kempny that you can indeed bounce back from adversity. So bringing the leadership and continuing to be a possession freak is the goal this season for Jensen.