How much has the loss of Matt Hendricks impacted the Edmonton Oilers this season?
It was a tongue-in-cheek subject brought up to NHL Insider Darren Dreger during a Wednesday afternoon radio hit on Winnipeg’s TSN 1290.
The 36-year-old forward signed with the Jets over the summer as an unrestricted free agent, and success in the standings has followed him and left his old team behind.
Correlation does not imply causation, naturally, and it wasn’t being suggested on 1290 that Hendricks was directly responsible for the changes in the teams’ fortunes – just that “it’s kind of funny because he does get a rough ride by some.”
“I hear you. And you’re right, let’s not give Matt Hendricks more credit than he deserves – truthfully, he wouldn’t want that,” said Dreger. “But he’s a part of the success and he’s deserving of whatever accolades we want to heap his way. Because I can tell you this much: I’ve had a number of conversations with those deeply involved with the Edmonton Oilers, and they recognize that perhaps allowing Matt Hendricks to walk away and ultimately sign in Winnipeg was a mistake by the Oilers because he’s a glue guy. And you need those inside a room to keep everything nice and tight and everybody focused.
“Specific to how young the Oilers essentially are when you look at their leadership starting with captain Connor McDavid, McDavid leaned on Matt Hendricks. He really, truly did. Even when Hendricks was out of the lineup when he was hurt, McDavid knew that he was a guy that he could go to because of his experience. You take guys like that out of a dressing room, and it can have a negative impact. And then you put them in another dressing room and it could have a very positive influence.
“So I think Matt Hendricks deserves some credit for sure.”
Hendricks signed a one-year deal with the Jets worth $700,000 in late August.
Source: TSN 1290
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