Is It Hensiiick's Turn?

Well, at least it's a possibility:

[Avalanche coach Tony] Granato believes in the Lansing, Mich., native, however, and an undercurrent of training camp is whether Hensick could unseat Tyler Arnason as the third-line center.

"Is he a quality NHL-caliber player? Yes," Granato said of Hensick. "The question is, where is he going to fit in?"

There's no question that Hensick's eleven points in 31 games last season were a disappointment.  But at 21 years old, there aren't many players that can just waltz into the NHL and pile up the points.  But there's also no question that the kid is extremely talented.  It wouldn't be a giant stretch of the imagination to foresee the Avs' top two centers as Paul Stastny and TJ Hensick in a post-Sakic era. 

Even if this isn't Hensick's year, at least Granato is seriously considering removing Tyler Arnason from his current role and replacing him with a more talented player.  But, like Dater points out in his article, would playing on the third line with Ian Laperriere and (maybe) Darcy Tucker actually hurt Hensick more than help him?  He is, after all, a small, speedy scorer more in the mold of Marek Svatos than a solid, in-your-face playmaker like Peter Forsberg.  Hensick is not a power forward. 

Not that he has to be, but with Sakic still around and Stastny poised to set points-scoring records, there just isn't a ton of room for Hensick to find a spot. 

Regardless, I'd be willing to take the chance.  More talent is more talent, and if the potential to score goals is higher with Hensick on the ice than with Arnason, I say go with the former.  Besides, neither one of them can really play defense at this point, so what difference does it make?

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