This Anaheim Ducks’ season has been a rough one for players, coaches, and fans alike. But one of the very few bright spots has been center, Adam Henrique.
Adam Henrique, or ‘Rico” as his teammates call him, has been exceptional for the Anaheim Ducks. I constantly hear rumors or calls for him to be moved or traded to another team because his production has not matched what he has getting paid.
Think again. Henrique has been one, if not the best Duck player this season other than Jakob Silfverberg or Ryan Getzlaf. While he does not have the gaudy numbers of a superstar like Connor McDavid or Auston Matthews, he has been critical to the club’s success and should not be moved.
Starving for Goals
The Anaheim Ducks have had considerable trouble putting pucks in the net the past few seasons. Last season, the Ducks posted 196 goals through 82 games, the fewest in the league. This season, the Ducks have scored 182 goals through 171 games, 25th in the league.
Needless to say, you’re not going to win many games if you can’t score goals. And this has been a chronic problem that management and the players together have been unable to fix.
Henrique has done as much as he can to solve this issue, potting a club-leading 26 goals. Just look at the game-winning goal he scored against Toronto back on Mar 7th. The Ducks need more plays like these.
To score goals, you have to shoot and Henrique has taken it upon himself to keep on shooting. In his first season with Anaheim in 2017-2018 after being traded by the New Jersey Devils, Henrique shot 102 pucks on net. He followed that up with 122 last season, then 169 (already a career-high) this season with still 11 games to go.
Assuming the season resumes later this year, Henrique could notch up to 200 shots.
Henrique has been a part (assisted or scored) on 26% of the Ducks goals this season (43/182), which shows he is a huge offensive component to the team He’s also one of only 4 Ducks players to score in double digits this season and leads the club with 5 power-play goals.
If Henrique were to be moved, there would be an even bigger offense hole in the Ducks’ lineup. He has adopted a shoot-first mentality, which has been somehow hard to come by on recent Ducks’ teams.
In his Prime
Henrique is only 30 years old and still has many more productive years left in the league. With Getzlaf slowly declining and not up to his usual point per game pace that we are used to, Henrique’s presence is even more important.
It is quite possible that he could take over the first-line center role in the near future.
Centers, often have a long prime that can stretch out to their early and mid-30s. Looks at Patrice Bergeron from Boston and Eric Staal who are in their mid-30s, but have remained very productive players.
Henrique may not be the fastest skater or biggest hitter, but he is one of the smartest players on the ice. Having excellent wingers helps also. Reunited with Rickard Rakell and Silfverberg, it could make as one of the most lethal offensive lines in the league if they stick together.
A Core Piece
When I was at a Ducks’ season ticket holder event, Ducks’ Color Analyst Brian Heyward named Getzlaf, Rakell, Silfverberg, Hampus Lindholm, Josh Manson, Cam Fowler, and John Gibson as the club’s current core.
I silently disagreed. Someone’s name was missing.
Befuddled, I was wondering why Henrique was left out because he has been as important as anyone on the club. He’s also in that mid-20s to early 30s crowd that the Ducks are still trying to win with, aided by the help of younger players (which unfortunately haven’t taken the next step this season).
Henrique must be considered a core piece because he, more than anyone, is one of the veterans trying to lead the Ducks through a transition period of retooling and rebooting the team. He’s also their leading scorer.
Given the minutes he averages (16:52) and the multiple offensive and defensive roles (taking on the opposing team’s best offensive players) he plays for the teams, Henrique is and will have a significant impact on the club’s immediate future moving forward. There is no reason why he should not be considered part of the club’s core group.
Moving (and losing) him for anything would be a poor, reckless move on Murray’s part. I hope Murray realizes, if he hasn’t already, the value Henrique brings to the team.
Hopefully, “Rico” will be here to stay in an Anaheim Ducks’ uniform for many years to come.