As the regular season inches closer, day by day, the time has come to predict and begin to take a look at what the Caps and their fans can expect from each player on the roster. Today's player is grinder and fourth line lynchpin Matt Hendricks, who will begin his second season in the organization this fall.
Recap of Last Season: Hendricks made the team on a tryout contract and did not disappoint during his first full season in the District. Hendy managed to score nine goals and add 16 assists in 77 games, a remarkable offensive outburst from a fourth liner. But his offense was not the best part of what he brought: he showed up and worked hard during every game, never took a shift off, was defensively responsible; in turn he was rewarded by George McPhee with a new two-year contract extension midseason. All the hard work finally paid off. For my full post-season analysis of Hendricks' 2010-11, click here.
Expectations for this Season: Expect more of the same this year from Hendricks, except offensively. Hendricks will pot the occasional goal or two and will also chip in apples from time to time, but last year will likely go down as his best year in terms of point production. Otherwise, expect him to add pepper to the lineup, hit everyone, and get in fights just like he did last year. Hendricks is a heart a soul kind of player, and he should again play a primary role for the Caps as they search for the holy grail.
Playing Time: Fourth line; secondary penalty killer. Hendricks is not skilled enough to play anywhere but the fourth line consistently, but he will be on the fourth unit pretty much every night barring injury. He should also see some time shorthanded, as his physical presence are a boost there and he did well with that role in limited action last season. He will probably be second among fourth-line forwards in total ice time.
Projections: 72 GP, 5 G, 13 A, +3 rating, 10:09 ATOI.
The next season preview will feature Jay Beagle.