Capitals breakdown: Matt Hendricks

Capitals breakdown: Matt Hendricks
June 7, 2013, 8:15 am
Share This Post Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley will evaluate the 2012-13 performance of each player on the Caps roster. One breakdown will occur every day in alphabetical order. Today: Matt Hendricks

Matt Hendricks

Position: Center/Left Wing

Shoots: Left

Age: Turns 32 on June 17

Ht/Wt: 6-0, 210

Games: 48

Goals: 5

Assists: 3

Points: 8

Penalty Minutes: 73

Plus-Minus: Minus-6

Average Ice Time: 11:43

Contract Status: Unrestricted free agent [$825,000 cap hit in 2012-13]

Strengths: It’s hard to find a more respected player in the Capitals’ locker room than Hendricks. He led the team in penalty minutes [73] and fighting majors [7] and was third in hits [93] and faceoff winning percentage [56.8]. He also went 1-for-3 in shootout attempts. On the ice he is one of the Caps’ hardest workers in practices. Off the ice he is one of the club’s most active and outspoken advocates for military families and the NHL’s You can Play initiative.

Weaknesses: For a guy with some incredible shootout moves, Hendricks should have scored more than nine goals in his last two seasons. He is not the fastest skater or the most skillful passer, but he will give and take a hit to make a play and his pain tolerance is off the charts.

Memorable Moment: My personal favorite came during the lockout when Hendricks invited wounded Navy Seal Bo Reichenbach to an informal practice at Kettler Iceplex in Arlington. Reichenbach was an amateur goaltender before losing both legs in Afghanistan. At the urging of Hendricks he strapped himself to a sled and took dozens of slapshots from Nicklas Backstrom, Jason Chimera, Jay Beagle, John Carlson and Hendricks. “I think about all the injuries I’ve had in hockey and in one second he goes through more than I’ve ever gone through and ever will go through in my career,” Hendricks said. “It’s hard to grasp that but when you can meet these guys and listen to their stories it’s fantastic that they’re as positive as they are.”

2013-14 Expectations: After making $850,000 last season and $800,000 this season, Hendricks is due for a big raise on or before July 5 when he’s scheduled to become a UFA. If he doesn’t get his asking price from the Capitals he’ll almost certainly get it from another NHL team willing to pay him in the neighborhood of $2 million. Wherever he plays you can count on Hendricks blocking shots, dishing out hits and dropping his mitts for his teammates.