The Nashville Predators continued their free agent shopping by bringing back an old draft pick in forward Matt Hendricks, formerly of the Washington Capitals. He’s been signed for four years at $1.85 million per season. Hendricks was originally a 5th draft pick by the Preds back in 2000, but broke into the NHL with Colorado several years ago.
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SB Nation’s Washington Capitals blog Japers Rink summed up Hendricks’ season thusly:
The reality is Matt Hendricks possesses many desirable qualities, but he, just like the much-loved Matt Bradley was before him, is far from a unique player with a tough-to-replace skill-set, especially if those skills are in decline. And while by all accounts he’s a tremendous locker room guy with a role model work ethic, it may be hard to see those things as having enough on-ice impact to make the unrestricted free agent to-be a “must keep” for the team.
Basically, Hendricks sounds like he plays much the same role that Paul Gaustad already does here. He’s tough, he kills penalties, he wins faceoffs, doesn’t score but works hard and the fans love him.
He does boast some dandy shootout skills, at least:
The team’s press release follows:
Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed forward Matt Hendricks to a four-year, $7.4 million contract that will pay him $1.85 million per season through the 2016-17 campaign. The Predators originally drafted Hendricks 131st overall (fifth round) in the 2000 Entry Draft.
Hendricks, 32 (6/17/81), amassed eight points (5g-3a) in 48 games for the Washington Capitals in 2012-13, while leading the team in penalty minutes (73), and ranking third on the team in both face-off efficiency (56.8 percent) and hits (93). Since making his NHL debut with Colorado in 2008-09, the 6-0, 211-pound forward has 58 points (27g-31a) and 365 penalty minutes in 263 games.
A native of Blaine, Minn., Hendricks played four seasons at St. Cloud State University from 2000-04, posting 112 points (54g-58a) in 152 games. He captained the Huskies during his senior season (2003-04) and won a WCHA title in 2001. Prior to college, Hendricks captained Blaine High School to the 2000 Minnesota Class AA State Championship just one season after losing in the finals. He posted 110 points (46g-64a) 43 games in his final two high school seasons.
Hendricks is on Twitter @MattHendy26.