According to the official Twitter account of the Winnipeg Jets, they have signed former Edmonton Oilers‘ forward Matt Hendricks to a one-year, $700,000 contract. This acquisition comes as a surprise to just about everyone, and for fans of the club, it appears to be a head scratcher.
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) August 27, 2017
The Winnipeg Jets Sign Matt Hendricks
Despite his role as a veteran center, Hendricks hasn’t offered much in terms of scoring throughout his four year tenure in Edmonton, and will likely continue his struggles despite the change of scenery. His point totals have not risen above 20 since 2011 and have only risen above ten twice in that span. In 42 games last season, he produced a paltry seven points and added 29 penalty minutes to top it all off.
What Hendricks lacks in offensive talent, however, is partially mitigated by his defensive ability and tenacity in the faceoff circle. On an Oilers squad rife with talented forwards, Hendricks finished the 2016-17 season with the best faceoff percentage at 56.9% and proved to be an important part of their penalty killing unit as well. The Oilers’ management team considered Hendricks to be a great locker room presence, but his reputation as a gritty support player is unlikely to comfort fans of the Jets, who may see his presence as a roadblock in the development of some of their younger players fighting to make the starting lineup.
Drafted 131st overall by the Nashville Predators in the 2000 Entry Draft, Hendricks has played 521 NHL games for the likes of the Colorado Avalanche, Washington Capitals, Nashville, and Edmonton after spending his first eight years between the AHL, ECHL, and WCHA. In these 521 games, he has tallied 100 points and 664 penalty minutes while maintaining a faceoff percentage of nearly 54%. The Jets organization has given no clear definition of his role in the 2017-18 squad, but he will likely spend most of his time on the bottom line barring any major injuries.