Is Tim Jackman the Most Underrated Player on the Anaheim Ducks Roster?


Dec 5, 2014; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Anaheim Ducks forward Tim Jackman (18) celebrates after scoring a goal during the third period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Ducks won 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

In a world where the role of the NHL enforcer is dying away, tough guy Tim Jackman has found a spot on the Anaheim Ducks.  He was acquired by the Ducks late in the 2013-2014 season to add some grit to the line up, but Jackman struggled to fit in to Bruce Boudreau’s style of play.  This season Jackman has found a place on the fourth line with Nate Thompson and Patrick Maroon, who have at times looked like the most dangerous line on the ice.  What is Jackman doing this year that has solidified his place in the Anaheim Ducks lineup?

A big reason the Jackman-Thompson-Maroon line has been as successful as it has is because of the relentless forechecking by Jackman and Maroon.  They get the puck in the zone and keep it there by using their size and strength to win battles along the boards.  Their strength behind the net has created many dangerous opportunities including this goal against the Winnipeg Jets.

Last night the forechecking of the fourth line forced the Canadiens to ice the puck, forcing their fourth line to stay on the ice.  Next shift the Ryan Kesler line did the same, then Ryan Getzlaf’s line was able to get the puck back to Hampus Lindholm who fired in a goal.  This sequence started because the forechecking of Jackman and Maroon allowed them to keep possession of the puck.

Jackman is faster than one might at first think.  He’s 6-2 224 and has a heck of a stride.  This speed does allow him to get in on the forecheck faster, but it also catches the opposing defensemen off guard.  In this goal against the Minnesota Wild, Jackman’s skating ability allows him to get behind the defenseman and bury a rebound.

Part of what makes Jackman as good as he has been is his ability to get to the dirty areas.  He gets to the front of the net to battle for position.  He jumps into battles along the boards to keep possession of the puck.  Jackman’s ability to jump into these dirty areas keeps plays alive and, as in Getzlaf’s goal against Winnipeg, allows the offense to create chances and score goals.  Jackman screening the goaltender on that goal played a big part.

The genesis of all these aspects of Jackman’s game is something we’ve always known about Jackman and that is his penchant for physicality.  Tim Jackman’s a big guy and uses his physicality to his advantage.  Often times this physicality leads to having to drop the gloves against the opposing players, but Jackman is much more than just a fighter.

Enforcers are slowly becoming an endangered species in the NHL, but there are still guys like Tim Jackman who can find a place on a team like the Ducks.  Tim Jackman is not a one dimensional enforcer, but rather a fourth line grinder.  He’s physical, but he can use that physicality to energize his team in more ways than one.