Jensen, 22, was the 29th overall pick in the 2011 draft and has played in 24 games the last three seasons. He’s tallied six points by virtue of three goals and three assists in those contests.
He’s more recently been playing for Vancouver’s AHL affiliate, the Utica Comets, and has scored four goals and 12 points in 27 games.
Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault had indicated Friday that Etem, in his first season with New York after joining the team from the Anaheim Ducks this summer, would be sent to the minors for conditioning, per Jim Cerny of BlueshirtsUnited.com. But now that he’s been dealt, Etem will likely join the Canucks in Vancouver, where they'll take on the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.
The Rangers hoped Etem would fill in for Carl Hagelin after swapping the two in the summer in a trade that also involved NHL draft picks.
But Etem didn’t fit in and had to fight for ice time, averaging 14 minutes, 43 seconds per game in 19 contests before the team relegated him to the AHL on Friday—a move the team made so it could shop him rather than placing him on waivers, according to Steve Zipay of Newsday. In that case, the Rangers could've lost him for nothing in return.
Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet noted Jensen will report to the Rangers’ AHL affiliate in Hartford, Connecticut, adding that the Canucks had motivation to move him before he was waiver-eligible:
Elliotte Friedman @FriedgeHNIC
Jensen BTW was approaching waiver-eligible status. So, VAN did not want to risk losing him without a return.2016-1-8 22:00:41
The trade appears to be a win-win for both teams, as Etem’s days in New York seemed numbered and in exchange the Rangers received a top prospect and a draft pick.
The Canucks got a former first-rounder who may just need a change of scenery to get back on a roll.