Since the Capitals’ forward group is already loaded, General Manager Brian MacLellan seems to be looking for depth players at the NHL Trade Deadline on Monday.
MacLellan has already ruled out Hershey Bears forward Scott Gomez and according to CSN MidAtlantic’s Chuck Gormley, wants a player that is similar to Bears forward Zach Sill, who’s played nine games for the Caps this season. One player who could fit that bill is current Edmonton Oilers center and former Capital Matt Hendricks.
Hendricks, who played for the Caps from 2010-2013, is 34-years old and clearly not in the future plans for the rebuilding Oilers. Hendricks is a gritty forward who is good defensively and can chip in offensively, and is always willing to stand up in defense of teammates. Hendricks has had a fairly decent year for averaging 13:50 of ice time, scoring three goals and adding six assists for nine points in 49 games. He is also pretty successful on the faceoff draws ( 56.2%), a need Barry Trotz stated last week has to be addressed. Hedricks is signed through the 2016-2017 season with at $1.850,000 per year, as per General Fanager.
But Hendricks’ value lies beyond his offense, and that is a physical player who plays soundly defensively. In his three years in Washington, Hendricks played on the penalty kill and was a leader in the locker room. Exactly the kind of player head coach Barry Trotz likes to employ.
Acquiring Hendricks makes sense for several reasons. For starters, he’s not a rental player and his contract (which runs through next year) has a reasonable cap hit of $1.85 million. Secondly, he’s familiar with both the Capitals organization and Trotz; he played 44 games for Trotz in 2013-14 in Nashville before he was traded to Edmonton. He would know what to expect and would also give the Caps another locker room leader and would lift the pressure of being the team’s tough guy off Tom Wilson, who has taken on that role during his three-year career.
The Caps are famous for bringing back former team members: in 2011-12, they signed former captain Jeff Halpern to a one-year deal, and after trading away defenseman Milan Jurcina in 2009, re-acquired him via trade just months later; however, he did not play another game with the team due to having hernia surgery. They also signed former Capital Eric Fehr before the 2012-13 season after trading him in the summer of 2011, a reunion that proved to be a smart one. If the Caps were to re-acquire the man known as “Paralyzer”, it’s safe to bet it would work out just fine.
By Michael Fleetwood