This week's Frozen Pool Forensics looks at the likely new centre for Taylor Hall: Adam Henrique.
This FPF will be brief, boys and girls. It’s July 1st so there’s going to be plenty of words to read on free agent signees, burgers to barbeque, and Team Canada jerseys to be worn in scorching hot weather.
With the massive shake up that occurred on Wednesday afternoon, Frozen Pool Forensics is looking at a player who should be impacted greatly by one of those deals. As the Edmonton Oilers continue to swing for a top pairing defenseman, it appears Adam Henrique will be a main benefactor as he will be reunited with his former Windsor Spitfires teammate Taylor Hall, and the results could be note-worthy.
Taylor Hall/Adam Henrique combined for 78 gls/183 pts as linemates in Windsor in 2009-10. Combined 37gls/60 pts in 19 playoff gms that yr
— Mike Morreale (@mikemorrealeNHL) June 30, 2016
Drafted in the third round back in 2008, Henrique was heralded as a very smart, two-way centre who owned good speed, solid work ethic, leadership qualities, and was deemed a winner – as evidenced by he and Hall winning back-to-back Memorial Cups together in 2008-’09 and 2009- ‘10. Fast forward eight years and Henrique has lived up to that billing and more.
He has twice cracked the 50-point barrier – most recently this past season where he recorded a nice round 20 goals and 30 assists while shooting an eye-popping 20.1 percent. That number certainly jumps off the page, but shouldn’t have owners scrambling to move the 26-year-old. Henrique is a career 15.7 percent shooter and shot at an 18.2 percent clip back in 2013-14. That number will likely regress towards the mean next year, but with a more dynamic forward group around him, the opportunities should increase.
With the addition of Hall, the Devils immediately become a more dangerous team. New Jersey finished last season in the cellar for goals scored with a paltry 184, yet their power play was quite strong, converting on 19.9 percent of their opportunities – good for ninth-best in the league.
The obvious weakness comes in the form of even-strength scoring and Hall should be a huge boon in that regard. Since the 2012-2013 season, Hall ranks third in even-strength points per 60 minutes with a mark of 2.49 points/60. That number places him behind Sidney Crosby and Jamie Benn.
The ability to create offense at five-on-five is so crucial in today’s game – especially come playoff time when the whistles go away. Hall will bring a dynamism that should ignite those around him and factor positively in Henrique’s production rate.
What might we expect the lines to look like in Jersey next year? Here is a look at Henrique’s most common line mates from last season using Dobber’s Line Combination Tool
Even Strength Line Combinations – 2015-16
One would expect that New Jersey will reunite the former junior mates together on the top line, perhaps with last season’s leading scorer, Kyle Palmieri on the right wing. That immediately becomes a formidable top trio and allows Mike Cammalleri to slip down to the second line to potentially gel next to top prospect, Pavel Zacha or veteran Travis Zajac. This ability to spread out the talent will help ignite production throughout the lineup and not rely solely on the man-advantage to be the big swinger.
Many lives changed drastically within a few short minutes on Wednesday afternoon – 23 minutes to be exact. Some for the better, some for the worse, but for Adam Henrique and his stock in the fantasy world, the potential step forward could be significant.
Historically, the Devils’ assistant captain has been a pretty safe bet to produce at around the 0.55 – 0.65 point per-game mark but with a high-impact and familiar winger next to him and still in the midst of his prime-aged years, Henrique should be in line to set career highs.
A 55-point season is a reasonable threshold to forecast for the Brantford, Ontario native, but if things take a jump at even-strength and the power play continues to finish on a consistent basis then closing in on 60 or even 65 could be possible. A total like that would have landed him as the 23rd most productive player in 2015-16, tied with…you guessed it, his new teammate, Taylor Hall.
Project point-per-game-pace for 2016-17: 0.65 – 0.75
Thanks for reading and feel free to follow me on Twitter @CrazyJoeDavola3 where the hockey tweets keep coming despite the long offseason.
Stats from Frozen Pool and Hockey Analysis.
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