Yesterday, Anaheim Ducks center Adam Henrique signed a 5 year extension worth $5.85 aav per year. …And it was meant with mixed reviews. But was it worth all the negative reactions? Let’s break it down.
- Offensive Production
Henrique is a very consistent centerman. Between his one season with Anaheim and his career in New Jersey, Henrique has tallied 40 points or more in 5 consecutive seasons and 6 times in 7 years. He also put up 20 goals 4 of his last five years, once reaching the 30 goal plateau, which shows that he is an above average producer on offense. Moreover he has reached the 50 point plateau 3 times in his career.
Remember that Henrique has played with some pretty lackluster offensive Devils teams. Here is how his stats correlate with New Jersey’s offense
2018: Devils 14/31 (with most of that being Taylor Hall): 4 goals, 10 assists in 24 games
2017: Devils 28/30 in goals scored: 20 goals, 20 assists
2016: Devils 30/30 in goals scored: 30 goals, 20 assists
2015: Devils 28/30 in goals scored: 16 goals, 27 assists
2014: Devils 27/30 in goals scored: 25 goals, 18 assists
Then, he was traded to Anaheim. It’s a small sample size, but Henrique blossomed there, tallying 20 goals, 16 assists in 57 games. And remember, Anaheim finished 18/31 in goals scored.
What Does the Future Hold?
With Henrique under contract in Anaheim for the next 6 seasons, the Ducks offense is likely to increase. For those who don’t follow Anaheim’s strong drafting, the Ducks have a rich prospect system, led by forwards Sam Steel, Max Jones, Isac Lundestrom, and Maxime Comtois. This core has the potential to score a lot of goals, regardless of what happens with players like Ryan Kesler, Corey Perry, and Ryan Getzlaf.
If that lineup can translate their scoring to the NHL, it should elevate Henrique’s game. For example, Henrique was a rookie the last time he played with a team that was in the top half in scoring in the league: 2012 New Jersey Devils.
That team finished 11/30 in scoring, while Henrique tallied 51 points (which is still his career high). By the way, his career shooting percentage is 15.5%. Not too shabby.
Meanwhile, Henrique is currently supported by two talented snipers in Ondrej Kase and Rickard Rakell, who should also be a part of Anaheim’s long term plans.
- Two way Production
With Kesler (maybe?) gone for the season, Anaheim has a glaring need at center. Kesler always played big minutes shorthanded and took key faceoffs. While Henrique is not the top faceoff ace that Kesler is (let me stress that there are few in the league who are even near Kesler level), Henrique isn’t terrible either. At 47% career (which includes 2 earlier awful faceoff seasons for him) and around 48% currently, Henrique isn’t a liability in the circle. While he’s not the defensive centerman that you necessarily put out there for a clutch dzone faceoff, he’s definitely a capable faceoff man.
Moreover, Henrique also delivers on the defensive end. Although his career PDO is 100.1, it increased with the Ducks. For example, Henrique’s PDO with Anaheim was an impressive 104.8.
In his career, goalies are stopping 91.4 percent of shots while he is on the ice, and they have stopped 91.8 % or higher in 3 of the last 4 seasons.
Henrique has also seen his defensive responsibilities increase over the last few years. While his career defensive zone starts percentage is 51.8%, he has been over 53% for the last 3 seasons.
Moreover, Henrique’s value is shown further in his ice time. He averaged 17:35 minutes per game for the Ducks in 2018, good for 5th among Ducks forwards. Additionally, his ice time was spread evenly, averaging 14:04 even strength, 2:29 on the powerplay, and 1:01 shorthanded.
- Comparable Hit
The knock on this deal is that Henrique is already 28 and will be 29 by the time his 5 year deal kicks in. While that looks like a negative, in the realistic world of the NHL, it isn’t too bad by comparison.
For the sake of argument, I’m going to compare the age/length of his deal with other 3c’s, even though I see Henrique as more of a 2c.
Henrique: 29 when his 5 year extension starts
Lars Eller (Capitals): 29 when his 5 year extension started
Nick Bonino (Predators): 29 when his 4 year extension started
Martin Hanzal (Stars): 30 when his 3 year contract started
Tyler Bozak (Blues): 32 when his 3 year contract started
Based on the age/duration of the aforementioned players, Henrique is in the same ballpark. He is most similar to Bonino and Eller in terms of age when signed and the duration of the deal.
What separates Henrique from those aforementioned players is the dollars/production ratio.
I’m also not taking into account signing bonuses since Capfriendly.com doesn’t have them reported yet for Henrique.
When comparing their most recent season with the cost of their extension, Henrique showcases the difference. While all of those players are great 3c’s, the numbers show that Henrique is an elite 3c and league average 2c.
Player Production Just Before Signing Cap Hit (per season)
Henrique 24+26=50 in 81 games $ 5.85 million
Bozak 11+32=43 in 81 games $ 5 million
Bonino 18+19=37 in 80 games $ 4.1 million
Eller 12+13=25 in 81 games $ 3.5 million
As shown, Henrique outproduced all of them. In fact, the only one out of the bunch who comes close is Bozak. However, even Bozak is outplayed by Henrique. Despite being close in points over the last few years to Henrique, Bozak is older, never had a deep playoff run, and only cracked the 20 goal plateau once in his career (never scored more than 23).
If you compare Henrique to similar 2c’s over the last four years before their extension, he still produces well enough. He still gets outplayed by these guys offensively, but other than Turris, it isn’t by that wide of a margin. It’s why I said he is a league average 2c.
Henrique: 183 points in 318 games .57 ppg Cap hit: $ 5.85
Backlund: 172 points in 297 games .58 ppg Cap hit: $ 5.35
Kesler: 156 points in in 254 games .61 ppg Cap hit: $ 6.875
Stastny: 188 points in 286 games .65 ppg Cap hit: $ 6.5
Turris: 200 points in 293 games .68 ppg Cap hit: $ 6
What separates Henrique is how he scores his goals. During his time with Anaheim, 8 of his 20 goals were game winning goals, which shows his clutch play. That tied him with Kuznetsov, Laine, Nylander, Saad, Schenn, and Marchand for 4th most in the league. The funny thing is that stat wasn’t a complete fluke. Henrique has produced one other 8 game winning goal season in his career. In 2016, he was also tied for fourth most game winning goals along with Ekman-Larsson, Kopitar, Ovechin, Stamkos, Toews, and Barkov.
- Cost to Acquire
While it would be easy to write off Henrique compared to Kesler, Stastny, and Turris, remember that such players are rarely available, and the cost of acquiring Kesler and Turris was massive at the time. Meanwhile, Stastny was available in free agency, but at a much higher cap hit than Henrique (he also turned down a slight pay cut from the Jets). Stastny was also acquired as a rental, while Henrique had an additional season on his deal, as was Ryan Kesler.
Anaheim acquired Henrique, Joseph Blandisi and a 3rd Round pick in exchange for Sami Vatanen and a conditional pick. By re-signing Henrique, New Jersey acquires a conditional 3rd round pick in 2019.
Vatanen went on to have a solid top 4 defensive season (32 points in 72 games), while Henrique had a solid top 6 season for a 2 way center.
Anaheim (when healthy) also has a glut of defensemen (Lindholm, Fowler, Manson, Montour, Larsson, Pettersson) which made Vatanen expendable, especially considering Vatanen’s cap hit.
Trade wise, it was pretty fair. Neither team stole a player from the other and each team got what they wanted. That is pretty rare in today’s NHL.
After reviewing the numbers, it seems as though Anaheim (possibly) slightly overpaid Henrique. We won’t know until it really plays out. When you factor that Henrique was on some terrible offensive New Jersey teams, his overall production looks much better. But his limited sample size with the Ducks just isn’t accurate enough (especially considering how injured they were) to predict his future. Unless he really falls off, this deal will look anywhere between 500k and 950k too expensive for his role, OR it could turn out to be a steal for the Ducks if he continues to build on last season.
It’s tough to predict how these things play out. Henrique will be paid until he’s 35, but based off usual decline for centers, he probably has about 3-5 solid seasons left in him (assuming he stays relatively healthy).
When you consider Anaheim’s need for a center like him going forward, the money they gave up to get him (Are you really going to get a middle 6 center of his caliber and age for anything less than $5.5 in free agency?), and the trade value it cost to get him (an expendable Sami Vatanen), I think it’s worth the risk. Keep in mind that the salary of players has increased exponentially over the last two years. So while Henrique looks expensive now, he might not look as expensive in 2 seasons.
1c: from $7-8 mill to $10-11\
Top D: from $6-7 mill to $10-11
Henrique is definitely no bona fide 2c, but he is incredibly over qualified to be a 3c. If Sam Steel progresses and makes the team as a 3c, I could see Getzlaf, Henrique, Steel being a solid top 9 group (assuming Kesler is out for the year).
Stats from capfriendly, hockey-reference, nhl.com, and puckbase.com