With the Wild reportedly looking for some 4th line help, Elliot Friedman believes Matt Hendricks from the Edmonton Oilers could be a possible fit. You may remember him from the last Edmonton game, where he was sent out during the shootout.
Born in Blaine, MN, the 35 year old center/left wing was drafted 131 overall by the Nashville Predators in 2000. Hendricks spent the following four years at St. Cloud State University, where he scored a total of 112 points in 152 games. Since then, he has bounced around several different organizations from the Predators to the Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, Washington Capitals, back to the Predators, and finally with Edmonton. While he found some success in the AHL, Hendricks has never scored more than 25 points a season in the NHL and scored 12 points last year in 68 games. In addition, he served as the captain of Team USA in the previous two World Championships.
Currently, Hendricks is on the last year of a contract worth $1.85 million per year. He took an injury early in the season and has struggled to remain in Edmonton’s lineup since. As a result, he’s only played 8 games this season and has only one assist. He’s averaged 11:29 minutes of playing time a night with the second worst overall Corsi For % on the team at 39.1%. He only has 7 shots on the year, but he’s blocked 9 shots and made 15 hits. He isn’t on the PK with 53.45 Shots Against Per 60 minutes played, which is 8th best on the Oilers and would be 10th best on the Wild. All of this is with a low sample size.
For comparison’s sake, let’s look at some other current fourth liners from the teams currently in a playoff position in the Western Conference.
*Found by looking at recent gameday lineups for each team.
That’s a lot of numbers. Do they even tell us anything? First, all of these numbers are subject to a fairly small sample size, and Kurtis Gabriel and Stefan Noesen have especially small sample sizes. Second, the averages only represent a small number of players. Nonetheless, that block of numbers can give us some interesting base lines with which to compare players.
Let’s take a look at Stewart and Graovac, for example. Stewart has scored slightly more than average in his given time while Graovac has scored a bit less. However, they’re both below average in every other category including overall CF%, shots/60, blocked shots/60, and hits/60. Meanwhile, Hendricks is below average in everything except in blocked shots/60 and hits/60, and at 35 years old, he surely isn’t the skater he used to be.
Looking at some of these stats and his recent history, Hendricks seems a lot like the players the Wild had on the fourth line last year such as Ryan Carter, Chris Porter, and especially Jarrett Stoll, and that’s not a good thing. While those numbers can help us realize that most team’s fourth lines aren’t as good as fans would want, the Wild’s fourth line last year was horrible and more often a burden than a physical, shut down line that Boudreau would want.
Alright, Hendricks’ stats and play may not warrant much interest, but what about his intangibles? He’s apparently great in the locker room and he obviously has some good leadership qualities as shown by his Team USA captaincy. But most importantly, he had the bravery required to take a picture with a flaming stick when he was in college, and that’s gotta count for something.
However, the Wild already has quite a few character guys and experienced leaders, and at a $1.85 million cap hit, Hendricks’ possible impact probably isn’t worth a waiver pick up, much less a trade.
But what do you think? Should the Wild look to improve their fourth line via a trade or the waiver wire? If so, who should they target?
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