Photo: Elsa/Getty Images North America
Earlier this week, former Capitals forward and longtime NHL grinder Matt Hendricks announced his retirement from the NHL after parts of 11 seasons in the league. A fan favorite during his time in Washington, he established himself as a grinder and a player not afraid to stand up for himself or his teammates, battle for the puck in the corners, or do all the little things right. In this piece, NoVa Caps reflects back on his time in Washington.
On the same day Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik announced his own retirement from the NHL, Hendricks announced his retirement from professional hockey. He will be joining the Minnesota Wild (one of his former stops in his playing days) as the team’s Assistant Director of Player Development, reuniting him with his former Head Coach in both Washington and Minnesota (and with the Capitals’ American Hockey League affiliate Hershey Bears in 2006-07), Bruce Boudreau, in the organization.
Congratulations to @MattHendy26 on your retirement after 11 seasons in the @NHL.
Thank you for all your contributions in our community over the past few years both on and off the ice and best of luck as you begin your next chapter in player development with the @mnwild. pic.twitter.com/IfPLzPmu0c
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) June 25, 2019
Hendricks signed with the Capitals in free agency on September 27, 2010 to a one-year, $575,000 contract, and in his first season with the team (2010-11), played in 77 games, recording a career-high 25 points (nine goals, 16 assists) and establishing himself as a player who was not afraid to stick up himself and his teammates, despite his relatively small size (6’0″), and also became a useful member of the penalty kill. After the season, the Caps re-signed Hendricks to a two-year, $1.65 million deal. During his time in Washington, Hendricks’ ability as a useful player in the shootout came to light, earning him the nickname “Paralyzer”.
While his ability as a player certainly endeared him to fans, his participation and activeness in the community also solidified him as a fan favorite; Hendricks was an avid supporter of the Capitals’ Courage Caps charity fundraiser and also donated his time needy families and under-privileged children.
Hendricks departed the Capitals in the 2013 offseason, signing a four-year deal with the Nashville Predators, who traded him to the Edmonton Oilers after just 44 games. Hendricks would go on to play 214 games over parts of four seasons with the Oilers (11 more games than he played with the Caps) before signing a one-year deal with the Winnipeg Jets. He would sign with the Wild for the 2018-19 season, playing in 22 games before being traded to the Jets, with whom he would play just four games.
Congrats Hendy! Hopefully you can teach the young kids some #Wagon mentality! All the best bud! https://t.co/2qCjLt6Gqf
— Eric Fehr (@EricFehr) June 25, 2019
In total, Hendricks played in 607 games over 11 seasons, recording 54 goals, 62 assists, for 116 points, recording 722 penalty minutes.
By Michael Fleetwood
*Contract Details per CapFriendly
Mostly I liked Matt Hendricks …. but the Caps’ usually fourth-line Center had an advanced case of Brendon Witt-itis. He took lots and lots and LOTS of unnecessary, careless stick penalties, in crucial game situations. It was a recurrent theme: Caps opponent scores back-breaking goal with MH in the penalty box