In addition to Baggins' excellent breakdown of scoring expectations and averages by position (ie: Hansen compared to the average 2nd line RW), I would submit the following (wrote this a couple hours earlier tonight and got pulled away before I could post):
Strictly by the numbers, I suppose you could argue that there are 180 "top-six" forwards in the NHL (30 teams X 2 lines X 3 forwards). Basically, the first 90 highest scoring forwards are "first liners" and the next 90 (#91-180) are "second liners." Last season, the the 180th highest scoring forward in the NHL put up 14 goals, 17 assists, and 32 points (stats reflect #180 in each category as per NHL.com).
Jannik Hansen in 2011-12: 82 GP, 16 goals, 23 assists, 39 points
So, by that standard, Hansen was a 2nd liner last season.
Jannik Hansen in 2012-12: 28 GP, 8 goals, 9 assists, 17 points
This season, Hansen is on pace (over an 82 game season) for 23 goals, 26 assists, and 50 points (rounded down for goals/assists and up for points--thus the addition "fail" of 23+26=50).
Using last seasons scoring stats, the top 90 forwards in the NHL put up 20 or more goals, 29 or more assists, and 51 or more points. By those numbers, Hansen's current projections have him at or close to first line numbers (or certainly top-end 2nd line numbers).
By this season's actual stats, Hansen sits tied (among NHL forwards) for #72 in goals, #109 in assists, and #105 in total points. So, whether you look at a projected 82-game season or just where Hansen sits currently among his peers for this season, his scoring numbers put him at a solid 2nd liner (between #91-180 of NHL forwards) and first line (goals) or near it (assists, points) in the three commonly-used scoring categories.
Of course, it's not just about scoring. The thing is, I find that Jannik Hansen excels at the non-scoring aspects of the game and is probably even more valuable for the things he does that don't show up on the scoresheet. So, if Hansen's scoring stats put make him a high-end 2nd liner and a fringe 1st liner, who are we to question whether or not he's actually become a 2nd line forward in the NHL?
The fact that his progression over the last couple years puts him right on the cusp of becoming a 20 goal scorer in this league speaks volumes. If you look at just how valuable 20 goals are in the NHL, Hansen's place becomes pretty clear (check out: http://crashingthene...0-goal-scorers/) . Last season, only two teams had five guys with 20+ goals. Of the remaining teams in the league, five teams had four, ten had three, eight had two, and five teams had only 1 player with 20 or more goals. If Hansen can maintain his numbers, the argument probably becomes one of whether he's good enough for to be "first line" or "second line."
That all said, I still prefer Hansen as a 3rd liner for this team (he's "elite" at this position, by any NHL team's standards). When the Canucks have the depth to justify placing Hansen in the bottom-six, it means that they have an "elite" forward corps in this league (by virtue of having 6 players ahead of Hansen in scoring potential). Of course, given the current roster situation, it's obvious that Hansen is playing well above the role of a 3rd liner. It'd be pretty difficult to argue against the fact that Hansen is now the #4 forward on the Canucks (until Kesler returns).
Doesn't take into account players with injuries, add in that fudge factor and the 39 points probably puts him on the cusp.
Which is where we all think he is now.
So in short, useless statistics are useless.