Any way you look at it, the New Jersey Devils need reinforcements. Could a reunion with former Devil Adam Henrique be on general manager Tom Fitzgerald’s radar?
The Devils drafted Henrique in the third round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, 82nd overall. The 33-year-old forward spent eight years in the Devils’ organization and quickly became a fan favorite among the New Jersey faithful.
In 455 games in red and black, Henrique scored 122 goals and 257 points. His most defining Devils moment came in May of 2012 when Henrique scored an overtime-winning goal that eliminated the New York Rangers from the playoffs.
The Devils ultimately traded Henrique to the Anaheim Ducks in the 2017-18 season. The former Devils forward remains in Anaheim playing for the Ducks today. However, he is a pending unrestricted free agent and could soon be moved leading up to March 8th’s NHL Trade Deadline.
According to Sportsnet Insider Elliotte Friedman via 32 Thoughts the Podcast, he believes the Devils have at least checked in with Ducks GM Pat Verbeek on the veteran forward.
“Adam Henrique, if I was the (New York) Rangers, and I was the (New Jersey) Devils, I would find it very hard to believe the Devils, in particular, have not looked into Adam Henrique,” Friedman explained. “I think there’s a lot of teams that have. You could plug Adam Henrique into Vancouver (Canucks), Winnipeg (Jets), (New Jersey) Devils, and (New York) Rangers. You could plug him into a lot of places and he would be a good fit. A guy with a really good rep around the league.”
As Friedman states, Henrique could be a hot commodity. He’s an easy plug-in forward for any contending team as he brings a versatile skill set on both sides of the puck and doesn’t cost a ton with a $5.825 million cap hit. Anaheim might even be willing to retain. Henrique owns a 10-team no-trade clause, so, he at least has some say in his future.
There’s little doubt Henrique would want to return where his career started. Clearly, he loves playing in New Jersey. When Anaheim last visited New Jersey, Henrique netted a hat-trick in the Ducks’ 5-1 victory. That boosted Henrique’s career statistics to six goals and nine points in 11 career games against New Jersey.
The Devils will seemingly be without Michael McLeod for a while as he’s on an indefinite leave of absence. The Devils do have enough forwards with center experience on their roster to replace the services of McLeod. However, Henrique not only brings more offense than anyone the Devils can offer after Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier, but he’s also faired well in the faceoff dot winning 53.4% of draws this season. The Devils will be hard-pressed to replace McLeod’s 65% win rate, one of the NHL’s best in the faceoff dot. However, Henrique brings a responsible presence in all three zones in addition to his positive faceoff win rate.
Of course, the Devils absolutely need a defenseman and a goaltender. It’s hard to imagine Fitzgerald can afford to add at all three positions. However, New Jersey needs to play a better team defensive game as a whole and the forward group is a part of that. Henrique is an intriguing candidate to slide into third-line center duties. There’s little doubt he’d make New Jersey a better team.
Besides, who doesn’t love a good homecoming story? Devils fans would certainly welcome Henrique with open arms.