(Photo credit: Bruce Bennett)
Matt Hendricks did a lot of the “dirty work” for the Capitals last season. He led Washington with 14 fights- four more than Matt Bradley and only six fewer than the entire team had during the 2009-10 season. His 169 hits were second on the team only to Alex Ovechkin.
So where does he want to improve his game? Scoring, naturally.
“I had nine goals goals my first year in the NHL with Colorado,” Matt Hendricks told Tarik El-Bashir. “I played 56 games that year. Last year, I played in 77 games and had nine goals. I need to figure out a way to get over that hump.”
Is that a “hump” or
are you just happy to see me the apex of his scoring ability?
As Hendricks said, he has never had more than 9 goals in either of his two full NHL seasons. During the 2009-10 season he needed an above average shooting percentage (14.3%) to get there and last year he needed almost twice the amount of shots. He can “fine tune his accuracy” and work on “hunting down and putting back rebounds” all he wants, but on a line that generates approximately four to five even-strength shots per game it is unlikely there will be much to work with.
Hendricks also doesn’t get any power-play time. Sure, something could happen during his 18 seconds per game with the man advantage, but I doubt it will be significant.
Since the lockout there have been 544 skaters who have played 40 games or more but averaged less than 12 min per night. Almost three-fourths of those scored less than 14 points for the season.
Over the past five years the average fourth liner has scored 11 points, plus or minus 7. Hendricks scored 25 points last year, putting him in the 96th percentile of fourth liners.
The truth is we have most likely seen Hendricks produce the most that could reasonably be expected out of a fourth line player.